Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri says he helped lay the foundations for the success Jose Mourinho has gone on to enjoy at Chelsea.
Italian Ranieri spent four years at Stamford Bridge at the start of the century before being replaced by Mourinho in 2004, who has gone on to win three league titles, three league cups and an FA cup across two spells in charge.
However the Foxes boss believes he should be given more credit for his time at Chelsea, having introduced John Terry to the first team, while he also signed Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Claude Makelele – all of whom played important roles in winning championships under Mourinho.
“Nobody needed to tell me ‘thank you’, why? I chose Petr Cech and had been to Eindhoven to take Robben and I suggested Drogba but that is it,” Ranieri said.
“I think we made a very good performance my third year, without taking no player we arrived fourth. And we achieved the Champions League, for this Roman Abramovich bought the team.”
Despite praising Abramovich in his autobiography, Ranieri admits he knew his time in West London was up when the Russian became owner.
“Yes, immediately. The chief executive [Trevor Birch] told me there is a new owner and I said ‘me and you are the first who go home’. You imagine, the new owner arrives and he wants to put in his own men. It is normal,” he added.
“If the new owner wants to change something, it is normal. I wanted to show our best and we bought some good players. I wanted to win something.
“In July, Abramovich wanted to bring Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was the manager of the [England] national team. It wasn’t possible for him and he said ‘OK, start and we’ll see what we can buy’.”
Ranieri faces his old side on Monday night when Leicester host Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, knowing a win will take them back to the top of the Premier League.