By Chris Harris

Claudio Ranieri deserves more credit for the recent success of Chelsea, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Italian spent five seasons at Stamford Bridge but was sacked at the end of the 2003/04 campaign before the effects of Roman Abramovich’s wealth could be felt. His replacement, Jose Mourinho, scooped two Premier League titles in a row to leave Ranieri as little more than a footnote in Chelsea’s glory years.

Mourinho was the largest beneficiary of Abramovich’s multi-million investment in the Chelsea team but the English spine of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole was installed by Ranieri. For Wenger, that proves that the Italian put the foundations for success in place before Mourinho added his own unique gloss.

“Other countries are trying to analyse why the English Premier League clubs are so successful,” said Wenger ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Semi-Final.

“They came to the conclusion it is not only the money. As well it is the face they have of the manager. 

“Chelsea is is a little bit of an exception, but only recently. Mourinho stayed two or three years and Ranieri stayed five years. And Ranieri has been the foundation of today's team. It is Ranieri who built this team, not anybody else.

“It is not down to me to say that [Mourinho has received too much credit]. I just say tomorrow you never get too much credit because Mourinho certainly deserves credit but maybe Ranieri didn't get enough."

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17 Apr 2009