Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Fulham on Thursday after less than four months in charge, with the Cottagers struggling at the bottom of the table.
Scott Parker has been placed in temporary charge for the remaining 10 games of the season, with Fulham 10 points adrift of safety in the Premier League relegation zone.
Chelsea will be away to Fulham at the Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon, and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has sent his sympathy to his fellow Italian.
“I am really very sorry,” Sarri said in reaction to Ranieri losing his job, “but I know very well his character so I know very well we will see him very soon on another bench.
“I think it will hurt him a lot of course, it is normal, but he is very strong and I think in a few days he will be able to think to the next situation, to the future.
“He was unlucky because the situation was difficult [at Fulham] and it is now, but they have also opportunities for saving [themselves], so I think we have to play a difficult match, a derby, so we need another very good performance.”
Sarri also admitted that the appointment of a new manager will change the context of tomorrow’s game as Fulham will be a more difficult side to beat.
Sarri said in his press briefing: “Usually when there is a change of the coach there is a reaction and so we have to fight the reaction, and also it is very difficult for us to prepare the match because we don’t know the new system and the new ideas, so it is a very difficult match.”
Sarri was asked about his team selection and if Kepa Arrizabalaga will be in goal against Fulham having been dropped against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Sarri admitted that the Kepa situation is over and that the players will have to fight for their shirt ahead of the Fulham game.
“As I said before,” he began, “the Kepa situation is now closed and he is our first goalkeeper, but we are very happy for Willy because now we know very well he is able play in a very difficult match.
“I want to see the last two training sessions,” Sarri explained when asked when the decision will be made, “but that is the case for every player because on Sunday we played for 130 minutes and 95 on Wednesday, so we need to value the recovery. The players ran 15 kilometres on Sunday on average and the average of the last match was 12, so we need to consider it.
“I have no injury doubts but it is very important to value the recovery.”