When Maurizio Sarri arrived at Chelsea during this past summer he came with the promise of bringing ‘entertaining football’ and called it an exciting period of his managerial career.
On Sunday he leads his team out knowing that he could equal Frank Clark's Premier League record, at Nottingham Forest, of staying unbeaten in his first 11 Premier League games.
Sarri led Napoli to two second-place finishes in his three seasons in charge of the Serie A side and even though fans at Stamford Bridge may not have known what to expect from the 59 year-old there was one man who knew plenty about the Naples born boss.
Roy Hodgson revealed at his pre-match press conference that he has met many who have been impressed with the record of his opposition boss this weekend.
“He is pretty well known in Italy I think as there are football fans in other countries than England, it is a worldwide game.
“When I spent some time in Napoli a couple of years ago now, a lot of people stopped me in the street because I have a past in Italy myself and they had plenty to say about Maurizio Sarri, and all of it was positive.
“So I wasn't surprised after the magnificent job he did at Napoli, when Chelsea needed a new coach, they turned towards him.
“I am also full of admiration for the way he has been able to settle in so quickly, and to have such a good start with the team because that is by no means a foregone conclusion either," said Hodgson as he praised another appointment at the club and has only heard good things about the new double act in west London.
“I think the appointment of Gianfranco Zola alongside him was also an extremely good appointment, because it is good when you come to a new country to have someone working alongside you who a) knows the football extremely well and knows the club very well, and b) is such a well-respected figure.
“What is there to say about someone who has come into the country and settled in enormously quickly and the players when they talk about him and the training methods are all very positive and you can’t do an awful lot better than play ten and remain unbeaten at the end of them, so I am sure he will have done an extremely good job in preparing his team to play against us and we know if we are going to get points from that game, we will have to be every bit as good as we were in the games against the previous top teams we have played, at home to Liverpool, when we lost and Arsenal when we drew.”
Watch Roy Hodgson's pre-match press conference now or on the app go to Palace TV along the bottom menu.