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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri: I'm a Bournemouth fan

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is happy for Eddie Howe over his success at Bournemouth.

The two managers have known each other for a few years — a ­friendship that began when Howe approached then-Empoli boss Sarri about coming to study his team.

Sarri responded by bringing a star-studded Napoli side over to play the Cherries in a pre-season friendly last summer.

He said: “I think very well of Bournemouth.

“Eddie came to Empoli four years ago for three or four days, and we stayed in Empoli together. Last season, with Napoli, we went to Bournemouth for a friendly match. So we stayed together for three or four days. I know him very well.

“He is a very interesting young coach. I think he will make a mark in the English game.

“I asked him, 'Why Empoli?' and he told me he was studying all the little clubs in Italy and France at the time, and he was impressed with Empoli.

“Yes, I was surprised. I knew that Bournemouth, in this period, were winning the Championship. I didn't know him or the players, but I knew the situation.

“I'm not surprised Eddie has got to where he has, because he's very clever and very intelligent. He says he learned a lot from me. He didn't need to!"

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Paul Vegas

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