Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri not worried by Claudio Ranieri ‘insider knowledge’ ahead of west London derby

Maurizio Sarri has revived Chelsea since replacing Antonio Conte, guiding them to fourth in the table — seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 01 December 2018

Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri not worried by Claudio Ranieri ‘insider knowledge’ ahead of west London derby

  • Sarri is confident a good turn he did for Fulham coach Claudio Ranieri will not come back to bite him
  • Sarri has revived Chelsea since replacing Antonio Conte, guiding them to fourth in the table

LONDON: Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is confident a good turn he did for Fulham coach Claudio Ranieri will not come back to bite him when his side clash with the Premier League’s bottom club on Sunday.
Sarri, who will hope his side rebound from the 3-1 reverse by Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, extended an invitation to his fellow Italian to watch a training session when he was in England earlier this season.
“I spoke with him for three days — I don’t remember exactly — one month ago, or 45 days ago,” said Sarri, who dined with Ranieri afterwards in the Chelsea training ground canteen.
“He came to Cobham to see two, three trainings. He wanted to speak with me, with Gianfranco (Zola).”
Ranieri, who was out of work at the time but was hired by Fulham last month after they sacked Slavisa Jokanovic, had years earlier allowed Sarri, then a banker who on the side coached amateur team Antella, to watch a training session at his Serie A outfit Fiorentina.
“I went to speak to him when he was the coach of Fiorentina, 20 years ago, maybe. I don’t remember very well, but I don’t think he can remember this meeting,” said Sarri.
Sarri has revived Chelsea since replacing Antonio Conte, guiding them to fourth in the table — seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City — and the last 32 of the Europa League.
He said he studied Ranieri’s teams from afar, notably the Leicester side he coached to a remarkable Premier League title in 2016.
“Usually a team of Claudio is really very solid,” said the 59-year-old.
“They usually defend very well, sometimes low, but very well.
“Usually he has a team very dangerous at counter-attacks, like in Leicester, but not only in Leicester.”
Sarri said 67-year-old Ranieri, who acquired the nickname ‘The Tinkerman’ during his four year spell in charge of Chelsea from 2000-2004, said he would not go so far as to classify his compatriot as a friend.
“Friend is a big word, I think, but I like him very much,” said Sarri.
Sarri, though, could not fathom why there had not been offers for Ranieri’s services from big clubs following his sacking by Leicester in the 2016-17 campaign.
“Usually the presidents are very strange,” he said.
Ranieri eventually ended up managing mid-level French Ligue 1 outfit Nantes for one season, leaving them in May this year, and was at a loose end when Fulham came calling.
“Usually you can live very well for two, three months, then you’re in trouble,” said Sarri.
“Every coach, I think, is like this. For two months you’re happy because you have time, and after two months you miss adrenaline.”


Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

Updated 22 January 2021

Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

  • Tyrrell Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under
  • Overnight leader Rory McIlroy, one over for the day with four holes still to be completed, is five shots back and in a share of second

ABU DHABI: England’s Tyrrell Hatton led the Abu Dhabi Championship by five shots on Friday before fading light forced play to come to a premature halt with the second round due to be completed on Saturday.
Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under.
Romain Langasque was five shots adrift after 16 holes before conditions forced organizers to suspend the round.
Sharing provisional second with the Frenchman was overnight leader Rory McIlroy, who was one over for the day with four holes still to be completed. And two who managed to make it to the clubhouse, New Zealander Jason Scrivener and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond.
Janewattananond and Scrivener were out early to finish their first rounds on Friday morning after Thursday’s fog delay of almost three hours forced them to play catch up.
Hatton is aiming for a fourth Rolex Series title in this event, the first of three tournaments being staged in the Gulf.
He began his second round one shot off his Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy after assembling a fine opening 65.
The 29-year-old followed up the two eagles he had made on day one with another from 22 feet on the second hole.
After dropping his first shot of the tournament at the next he hit back, producing a run of four birdies.
He was going in search of his tee shot into a bunker at the 14th hole when the siren sounded a premature halt to the round.
“I’m obviously in a great position at the moment,” he said.
“It was certainly tough out there, so I’m really happy to be five under.
“I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts toward the end of my round — nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going.”
On the prospect of a busy day at the office on Saturday, Hatton added: “It will be fine. I’ll just try and stay loose and see how we go.”
Langasque was almost celebrating the first hole in one of the new Race to Dubai season, his tee shot at the par three 15th whistling past the hole.
Defending champion Lee Westwood bogeyed the 13th and 14th before play was suspended to lie nine shots off the lead, with world number three Justin Thomas on the projected cut mark of one under.