Former Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri is back in the English football as he takes charge of 15th placed Watford, penning a two-year deal.
The Italian’s first test will be against 2nd place Liverpool, who he believes is “one of if not the best teams in Europe”.
This is Ranieri’s 4th stint in England, after spells at Chelsea, Fulham and most notably Leicester where he miraculously guided them to the Premier League title in the 2015-2016 season. Since then, he has had spells at Nantes, Roma, Fulham, and Sampdoria, with little to no notable success.
He said: “I always look into the future and my future has a very close link to Watford…I hope to have a very good campaign this year… I’ve now started to coach a team and want to have a long future” he mentioned when asked about his managerial pedigree and his aims for the future.
He will be hoping to “give the fans a very good show” in his first match in charge as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side make the trip down to Northwest London. Watford have managed only 2 wins from their first 7 matches this campaign.
“A lot of new players and a new manager, we need time” Ranieri exclaimed to supporters, However the Italian knows that time is hard to come by in the Premier League, and even more so at Watford. The Hornets have now seen 7 new managers come through the door in the last 2 years.
“The Pozzo family (Watford owners) and I tried to link together a long time ago at Udinese” the 69-year-old revealed when asked about how he first heard about Watford’s interest. He went onto describe the role as a job he couldn’t turn down labelling the Premier League “the best in the world” with “the biggest champions, biggest managers and biggest competitions”.
Liverpool come into the game hoping to spoil the party this weekend. The Reds come into the game off the back of an entertaining 2-2 draw against Manchester City, and a 5-1 romping in the Champions League at the expense of Porto. However, Klopp’s side will be without Thiago, Allison, Fabinho this weekend with Jota also a doubt.
Ahead of the match this weekend, Ranieri was quick to urge the Watford supporters for realistic expectations saying, “The first idea always is to be safe, 40 points, then we’ll see…We will lose some matches, but we can make some surprises too and do our best in every match”. His side face a very difficult run of matches facing Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United in their next 5 matches. “I love the pressure and I put that pressure onto my players to get the best out of them”
This is the 21st club Claudio Ranieri has managed in his 35 year-long managerial career, “I think everybody knows my brand of football, I want a team who try and score goals”. He went onto to say, “I have a philosophy and mentality that we will have to work hard to implement as quickly as possible”. He proclaimed his longevity in football is down to his love for the game, “football is my life, I love the fans and want to give them what they are wanting”. After years of instability in the managerial role at Vicarage Road fans will be hoping that Ranieri can bring a sense of consistency back to the Northwest club.
With many Watford fans optimistic with a proven Premier League winner at the helm, Ranieri shared similar hopes ending with message the Watford fanbase saying that “we will work hard, the campaign will be difficult, but we are confident”.