Watford’s new manager Claudio Ranieri is nine days away from celebrating his 70th birthday – but the Italian, who pulled off the most amazing feat in Premier League annals, reckons he’s certainly still young enough to take on the challenge of keeping the ailing club in the Premier League.
Ranieri arrives at Vicarage Road as successor to Xisco Munoz after the Spaniard left Watford just seven games into the season, another victim of the club’s revolving door policy when it comes to hiring and firing managers.
Ranieri, whose guiding of Leicester to their league title win in 2015-16 was the most unlikely feat in top-flight history, last worked in the Premier League with Fulham in 2018-19 rather less successfully.
Yet the indefatigable 69-year-old reckoned he was looking forward to his Premier League return as he outlined his ambition for Watford on Wednesday.
“I never give up… I have a strong character, I am still young and I want to continue,” Ranieri told a news conference ahead of his first game in charge against Liverpool.
“I’m very happy to come back to the Premier League, (it’s) one of the best leagues in the world. I’m an ambitious man and I hope to keep Watford safe this season.”
Watford are 15th with seven points from as many games. They host Liverpool on Saturday, before further league fixtures against Everton, Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Ranieri is the 13th managerial appointment in nine years for the club’s owner Gino Pozzo, who fired Munoz earlier this month. However, Ranieri said he is not concerned about the managerial turnover at the club.
“In Italy, it is normal to change managers (frequently)… I can’t think about previous managers and Xisco was my player in Valencia, I hope he can find a new solution very soon. But now, I have to do my best for Watford,” the Italian added.
“We have to be safe and then slowly we go up. Forty points we have to achieve and next season 41, then 42 and 43. On Saturday, there will be one of the best teams in the world… It will be a battle, and we will battle.”