Antonio Conte said the news of Alex Ferguson suffering a brain haemorrhage was on his mind during preparations for Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool and wished the former Manchester United manager a quick recovery.
Ferguson had emergency surgery on Saturday and United said the operation went "very well".
Conte played against Ferguson's United side for Juventus in a number of Champions League clashes and he spoke of their relationship after his team's victory, which came thanks to a first-half goal from Olivier Giroud.
"I am very sad," he told reporters. "I have had the possibility to know him and his wife, to understand this is a special person. Not a normal person.
"He won many titles in his career and I appreciate the man. Yesterday the news changed my day in a bad way.
"We hope to see him recover quickly and our best wishes for this. Now it is very difficult and we want to stay close."
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