London: Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes Chelsea will be a revitalised force under fellow Italian boss Antonio Conte. Former Chelsea manager Ranieri takes his current side to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester having dethroned the Stamford Bridge club as Premier League champions, having once been 5,000/1 outsiders for the title.
Chelsea will kick-off against Leicester a huge 31 points behind the new champions. It has been a season of upheaval for the west London club, who sacked former manager Jose Mourinho in December and then brought in Guus Hiddink for the Dutchman's second spell in caretaker charge.
Sunday's match will mark the end of Hiddink's current Chelsea stint, with Italy manager Conte arriving at Stamford Bridge once his country's Euro 2016 campaign in France is finished. Chelsea are an unusually low ninth in the table but Ranieri believes it won't be long before they are challenging for the title again, with Conte having won three Serie A crowns in Italy when in charge of Juventus.
"He is a tough man, it is hard for him to change because he will make a little revolution there," said Ranieri. "I am waiting for it, I await the revolution when he arrives. He changes everything. He is very concentrated in his job, the little things. He wants to care for everything, nutrition, everything."
Ranieri managed Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, before being replaced by Mourinho. Before kick-off, Chelsea are expected to line up to give the new champions a guard of honour, but Ranieri said the honour was for Leicester's players, not him. "I will stay in the dug-out. I can say thank you to the fans but it is for my players."
Leicester hold their title parade on Monday and then fly to Thailand, the home nation of the club's owners, on a goodwill trip on Tuesday. The Foxes will return for pre-season in July and then they will be involved in the International Champions Cup. They will travel to Glasgow to play Celtic on 23 July before heading to Los Angeles for a match against Paris Saint-Germain a week later. They round off the competition against Spanish champions Barcelona in Stockholm on 3 August, in what Ranieri hopes will be useful preparation ahead of Leicester's inaugural Champions League campaign.
"The pre-season is more or less the same, apart from changing the names of the opponent," he said. "It's good experience for my players, but it's important to feel and understand the difference. It's important to play against these teams."
Published Date: May 15, 2016 14:22 PM | Updated Date: May 15, 2016 14:22 PM