Wenger: Ranieri, not Mourinho, laid Chelsea foundations

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has belittled Jose Mourinho’s achievements at Chelsea by suggestingClaudio Ranieri laid the foundations for their decade of success.

The 65-year-old has participated in a long-running feud with Mourinho since the Portuguese boss originally arrived in the Premier League in June 2004, replacing current Leicester City boss Ranieri.

Mourinho inherited a string of players developed during Ranieri’s stint – including John Terry, William Gallas, Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard – who went on to form the core of his side.

Chelsea won their first top-flight league title in 50 years during Mourinho’s first season, as well as a League Cup triumph, yet the Gunners boss feels their early successes were in part down to Ranieri.

“When Claudio left Chelsea he built the team that was so successful at the start,” he told reporters.

“I remember them finishing second in the league with Ranieri and the team was upcoming with young players like John Terry and Frank Lampard who were the players that contributed to the success of Chelsea.

“Look at the team of Chelsea when he left: they all survived after. They were on the way up when he left.

“Yes, he built the foundations. He did a great job. He bought Lampard; they had Terry, [Marcel] Desailly, Gallas. They had already a very strong team.”

Arsenal travel to Ranieri’s high-flying Leicester on Saturday, with the hosts looking to extend their standing as the Premier League’s only remaining unbeaten team.