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Chelsea take on Inter at Nice’s Allianz Riviera in the International Champions Cup on Saturday evening, in what is only Sarri’s second game as Blues boss.
“Spalletti? I worked with him for two years at Roma and I’ve only got good things to say about him,” the former Roma left-back told his club’s official website.
“I’ll always have a special fondness for him but tonight we’re rivals. Obviously I will be very happy to see him and the game will be the first time I’ve played against one of his teams.’
“I played with Radja for three seasons and he’s a personal friend of mine. He’s a great guy, I don’t know if he is going to play tonight or not but I hope he’s there because it will be good to see him, and I want to play against him on the pitch.
“It’s very important for myself and the whole team, especially as we have a new manager. Last season I arrived in January, halfway through the season, and it takes a little bit longer to adapt when you come in at that point.
“But now I feel totally settled and I’m ready to give my all as quickly as possible ahead of the new season.
“Sarri? He is a very intelligent manager and I obviously played against him in Italy. It’s been a really positive start under him and the team have learnt a lot in a short space of time.
“Now it’s our responsibility to keep working hard in training in order to understand his philosophy so that we can have a great season.”