Claudio Ranieri retains belief in Watford’s survival despite Liverpool thrashing
Claudio Ranieri’s belief has not swayed despite Watford’s crushing defeat to Liverpool last weekend and he is sure they will still be in the Premier League next season.
The Italian saw his first match in charge of the Hornets end in embarrassing fashion after going down 5-0 to the Merseyside outfit and they now travel up to the city on Saturday to face Everton.
After celebrating his 70th birthday on Wednesday, the experienced manager is confident he can achieve his task at Vicarage Road.
“I am very sure at the end Watford will be safe,” Ranieri insisted.
“Always I try to recharge the batteries of my players and they train very, very well. I am hopeful about the next match.”
Ranieri’s preparation for the clash with Everton has been better compared to last week where several of his squad only returned from international duty a couple of days before taking on Liverpool.
The ex-Chelsea, Leicester and Fulham boss believes his new squad are already gaining a better understanding of what he wants from them before the trip to Goodison Park.
He added: “It was much better this week because against Liverpool I met all my players two days before.
“This week I work well with all my players and I think day by day they understand much better my ideas about football. Of course we make some mistakes but I think match by match we improve. It is important to improve immediately and make less mistakes as quick as possible.”
During Ranieri’s successful spell with Leicester, he was known for providing his players with pre-game incentives like when he offered to buy the Foxes squad a pizza if they kept a clean sheet in a match with Stoke.
Before his debut fixture against Liverpool, the 70-year-old offered to pay for dinner if they were able to shut out Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Danny Rose reminded Ranieri of the offer this week but a clean sheet at Everton will not bring a similarly lucrative reward for the Hornets squad.
“Believe me, I forget this,” the Watford boss admitted.
“But Danny Rose told me ‘hey manager, if a clean sheet is it dinner eh?’ And yes of course. If we make clean sheet, I offer dinner… in the Watford canteen.”
Thwarting ex-Hornets attacker Richarlison will be key to the visitors claiming reward in Merseyside after the Brazilian returned to full training this week following a knee injury.
He left Vicarage Road after only one season in the summer of 2018 and was criticised for a drop-off in form during the second half of the campaign when interest from the Toffees was first mentioned.
Ranieri said: “Richarlison is a very good player. I don’t know if he will play but we must be ready against him, against (Andros) Townsend, against all the big players who Everton have.”
Josh King is in contention to feature for Watford against his former club after returning from a knee injury but Kiko Femenia (hip) could join Francisco Sierralta, Christian Kabasele and Peter Etebo in missing the weekend clash.
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