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'I went to his training 20 years ago!' - Sarri hails inspirational Ranieri

09:34 GMT+3 01/12/2018
Maurizio Sarri
In the lead up to the match with Fulham, the Chelsea boss revealed the extent of his opponent's influence on his own career

A pioneer for Italian coaches in England, Claudio Ranieri has been praised as one of Maurizio Sarri's inspirations.

With Chelsea set to face Fulham on Sunday, Sarri took the time to explain the 67-year-old's influence on him, both in terms of tactics and career path.

The Chelsea boss also revealed he attended Ranieri's training sessions when his compatriot was in charge of Fiorentina, between 1993 and 1997.

"Of course he was an inspiration," Sarri said. "I went to speak with him when he was the coach of Fiorentina, over 20 years ago maybe, and often to see training.

"I lived very near to Florence, very near to the stadium. I was a coach, maybe in Serie D. It was easy for me, because I was the coach of a little team near to Florence – Antella in the south part of Florence, very close to the training ground of Fiorentina."

Two decades later, Sarri has returned the favour, welcoming Ranieri before taking the managerial position at Fulham.

Ultimately, though, he highlighted what he expects when the two go head to head at Stamford Bridge.

"I spoke with him [Ranieri] for three days around a month or so ago. He came to Cobham to see two, three training sessions. He wanted to speak with me, with Gianfranco Zola," Sarri said.

"Usually a team of Claudio's is really very solid. They usually defend very well, sometimes low, but very well.

"Usually he has a team dangerous at counter-attacks like in Leicester, but not only in Leicester."

Chelsea currently sit fourth in the Premier League, despite a lopsided loss to Tottenham in the Blues' last league match.

The club bounced back in the Europa League, though, with a 4-0 win over PAOK.

Fulham, meanwhile, sit last in the league with just eight points through 13 games.

Ranieri put the club on the right track in his last match, though, with a 3-2 win over Southampton.