Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says Fulham’s change of manager will make them tough opposition when the sides meet at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
Fulham sacked ex-Blues boss Claudio Ranieri after just 17 games, but will have another Chelsea old boy in charge on Saturday – the former England midfielder Scott Parker.
But even though the Whites are 10 points from safety, having only won three games under Ranieri, his fellow Italian Sarri is expecting a tough west London derby.
“Usually when there is a change of coach there is a reaction and so we have to front (face) the reaction,” Sarri said prior to Sunday’s match.
“It is very difficult to prepare for the match because we don’t know the new system and the new ideas.
“We have to play a very difficult derby match. We need another good performance.”
Sarri said Ranieri, who managed Chelsea from September 2000 to May 2004, faced a “difficult situation from the beginning” at Fulham.
“I am really very sorry but I know very well his character so I know we will see him very soon,” Sarri added.
“It is not easy. He was unlucky. But he is very strong and in a few days he will be able to think to the future.”
Chelsea are sixth in the table, seven points from third-placed Tottenham. But the Blues have a game in hand on all the sides above them.