Ranieri expects "special" match with Chelsea

02 December, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Claudio Ranieri when he was Chelsea manager

"I don't know if he is able [to be ready] for the Premier League at 18, especially in a big team".

The veteran Italian oversaw a 3-2 victory in his first match after replacing Slavisa Jokanovic, ending a run of seven consecutive defeats.

The La Liga champions and manager Ernesto Valverde have been plunged into a scramble to bring in a defender in January following news that Samuel Umtiti is set for a longer spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery in Qatar.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri says Thursday night's 4-0 win over PAOK has done little to shape his Premier League thinking. "If he [was] already ready now to make a difference in a team like Chelsea, he would be the best player in Europe in two years".

"Sarri has a very good group of players, and play with the right philosophy", said Ranieri.

Chelsea face an uphill battle to convince Callum Hudson-Odoi to sign a contract with the teenager seeking assurances he will be granted more first-team football. "The players come in happier, but now we have to forget about the last game and think about Chelsea - another hard game for us".

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"But I want to see him in a match when he has to play in a defensive phase".

"I believe in Aleksandar, but I think he needs more and more, and time for him to understand my philosophy", said Ranieri, who saw Mitrovic score twice last week.

This does not bode well for a game against Maurizio Sarri's free-flowing outfit, which has been outscored by only Manchester City so far this league campaign.

Chelsea were taken apart by Tottenham last weekend, losing 3-1 to a confident Spurs side.

The 31-year-old midfielder's current contract at Stamford Bridge is due to expire in the summer and that has inevitably led to speculation that he could be on his way out of the club in January. So it wasn't very easy to find a big motivation.

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