Ranieri ready for Watford survival bid


London (AFP) – Watford’s new manager Claudio Ranieri has pledged to put on a “good show” as the Italian returns for a fourth spell in the Premier League.

Ranieri has replaced the sacked Xisco Munoz at Vicarage Road after agreeing a two-year contract earlier this week.

The former Chelsea, Leicester and Fulham boss arrives to find Watford 15th in the Premier League after Xisco led them to promotion from the Championship last term.

Watford axed Xisco because of a “negative trend” in performances, culminating in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Leeds.

But Ranieri famously masterminded Leicester’s fairytale Premier League title triumph in 2016 and the Italian is confident he can make a big impact with Watford. 

“Watford is a very good club for me. I wanted to come back to England and I’m very pleased, very happy, and want to do my best,” Ranieri told Watford’s website on Friday.

“I think in England everyone knows me from Chelsea or Leicester, I want a team who tries to score goals.

“We have very good players up front, very fast. I want to close the space a little more and help the defensive line.

“I know in the Premier League there isn’t time. For this reason we have to work hard and fast.

“I hope to give the fans a very good show.”

Ranieri’s first game in charge of Watford will be against Liverpool on October 16.

The 69-year-old believes he has inherited a squad capable of troubling the Reds and the rest of the Premier League.

“I think there are very good players, I have my philosophy, my mentality and we have to work hard to change little things,” he said.

“I don’t start working with all of the guys yet because I have some injured players and there are some international players. 

“We are working well, a very good group so far and I am very confident. It’s not easy because the next match is Liverpool, one of the best teams in Europe.

“The first idea is to be safe – 40 points are very necessary. Then, we will see.”

Ranieri’s most recent spell in the Premier League lasted just 106 days with Fulham before he was dismissed in 2019.

The much-travelled former Juventus and Inter Milan boss is Watford’s 13th permanent manager since the Pozzo family took control of the club in 2012.

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