New Watford manager Claudio Ranieri feels he has been around long enough for opposition clubs to know his style of coaching and expects to give Liverpool a run for their money next weekend.
The 69-year-old is now back in English football after replacing Xisco Munoz in the Vicarage Road hotseat. It is his fourth spell in the country having kicked off his Premier League experience with Chelsea in September 2000. The Italian lasted four seasons at Stamford Bridge but will forever be remembered for his 19 months in charge of Leicester City.
The veteran tactician managed to turn the footballing world on its head by guiding the Foxes to the 2015-2016 Premier League title. But he was sacked midway though the following campaign, much to the dismay of fans and pundits alike.
An unsuccessful three months with Fulham followed before he was sacked in February 2019. Since then, the jovial tactician has worked at Roma and Sampdoria.
The Hornets post is his 21st appointment and he will hope to emulate his success at King Power Stadium. Winning the title may be a little ambitious but Watford fans would settle for mid-table security.
Whether that is enough for the trigger-happy owners only time will tell but he has a tough opening fixture. Jurgen Klopp will bring his high-flying Liverpool side to Hertfordshire next Saturday.
Watford currently sit 15th in the table, with two wins and a draw on their record. And Ranieri has made it clear his charges will not take a backward step when the Merseysiders arrive.
“I think, in England, everyone knows me from Chelsea or Leicester. I want a team who tries to score goals,” he told the club’s official website. “We have very good players up front, very fast. I want to close the space a little more and help the defensive line.
“A lot of players came in, a new manager, and we need a little time but I know in the Premier League there isn’t time. For this reason we have to work hard, and fast.”
Ranieri knows clock is ticking
The international break has given the new boss some time to work with his players. Watford have scored seven league goals in as many matches in 2021-2022.
It is this aspect of their play that he will try to influence, but the much-travelled coach knows it will be tough.
“It’s not easy because the next match is Liverpool – one of the best teams in Europe,” he added. “Of course I have to work quickly, try to do my best, and also [make sure] my players understand me very soon.
“I hope to give them [the fans] a very good show. They know we play against Liverpool and we need their support from the first to the last second of the match.”