Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has saluted "extraordinary" Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and said an exchange with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp helped him realise that he has "reached the top" by swapping Serie A for the Premier League.
Sarri has made an unbeaten start to life in the Premier League after 12 games in charge of Chelsea, setting a new record, and he waxed lyrical about his experience of English football since leaving Napoli.
Chelsea were involved in a pair of gripping matches against Liverpool in September and Sarri shed light on a conversation with opposite number Klopp on the touchline.
The 59-year-old described the moment in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport , saying: "At one point I turned to him [Klopp] and saw that he was smiling.
"I approached and asked him why.
"He told me 'I'm having a good time, you?' 'Me too,' I replied.
"Here, when you live these situations, you realise that you have reached the top."
Sarri named Klopp as the Premier League boss he feels closest to in terms of his approach, but he had warm words for rivals Mourinho and Unai Emery.
Chelsea enjoyed a 3-2 victory over Emery's Arsenal back in August but were held to a 2-2 draw by Mourinho's Manchester United in October, after which the Portuguese coach accepted an apology from a member of Sarri's staff for his provocative goal celebrations.
"I feel closer to Klopp from a philosophical point of view," said Sarri. "The exchange of words between us seems to me to be exemplary.
"Mourinho is a man of extraordinary human qualities. He made an excellent impression on the day of the Stamford Bridge match when the incident involving one of my assistants occurred.
"On a professional level, there is little to say: he has won everything and everywhere.
"Emery is a scholar and an excellent professional. The offensive organisation of his football is of the highest level."