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He said he studied Ranieri's teams from afar, notably the Leicester side he coached to a remarkable Premier League title in 2016.

Jorginho's impact has been lessened of late by opponents paying him particular attention and Chelsea lost their first competitive game of the season, after 18 matches unbeaten, last Saturday against Tottenham.

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.

Despite a fine showing from Callum Hudson-Odoi in Chelsea's 4-0 win over PAOK in the Europa League on Thursday, Maurizio Sarri squashed any ideas he might start this weekend.

The 22-year-old has fallen down the pecking order, with David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger being preferred. "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".

One Twitter user said: "Morata should always cut his hair, it's helping him to score again".

Maurizio Sarri was quick to dismiss the suggestion that Giroud had earned a starting spot against Fulham with his clinical finishing, while praise of Hudson-Odoi was qualified by the modest opposition, who were reduced to ten men after seven minutes.

Reports suggest that Aston Villa are now interested in signing Gary Cahill while Calciomercato believe AC Milan want the services of the England global by the end of January. "When you play against Chelsea, you have to be very attentive, but we're working hard and I'm confident it'll be a very good derby". One point from a possible 21 on the road is a meagre return, but there are easier places to try to improve it than Stamford Bridge.

"Friend is a big word, I think, but I like him very much", said Sarri.

"It was really very good, especially because, before the match, we knew very well that we were first in our group after the result of BATE Borisov". The last three matches we had big problems with the impact to the match.

Fulham have no new reported injuries for the trip to Stamford Bridge.


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