Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri expects Chelsea to recover from their slump and finish in the top four of the Premier League.
The defending champions have lost four of their last six league games and manager Jose Mourinho admitted they could miss out on qualification for the Champions League after the weekend’s surprise loss to Bournemouth.
Ranieri, who managed Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, has taken the Foxes to the top of the league as the season’s shock package and they host 14th placed Chelsea on Monday.
Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the Champions League knockout stages and Ranieri reckons they will soon hit form in the Premier League.
“Their record does not mean anything as Chelsea are Chelsea and Mourinho is Mourinho,” he said.
“I’m sure at the end of the season they will be in the top four. I still think they will make the Champions League. For now it is bad luck but when they start to win they will arrive.
“I respect them a lot because I watched the match last night. They played very well with good concentration. They are used to doing this as they are the champions. Sooner or later they will start.
“It was good for Chelsea to win and now in two or three months everything will change. I’m sure they will be ready to fight.”
Mourinho replaced Ranieri at Stamford Bridge to start his first spell in 2004 and the Italian insisted he has moved on since leaving 11 years ago.
“Chelsea for me means a lot because I worked there for four years. I’m very proud to have been their manager. But that’s an old story and now my focus is on Leicester,” said Ranieri.
Leicester are without defender Ritchie de Laet (ankle) for Monday’s game and Ranieri also expressed his sympathy for Garry Monk after he was sacked by Swansea on Wednesday, following the Foxes’ 3-0 win in Wales on Saturday.
“I’m very sad Garry Monk has lost his job as they played very well without scoring goals. I’m so sorry,” he added.