Ranieri: ‘Midweek Performance Gives Us Confidence’

By: Watford FC Staff

Claudio Ranieri hopes his side can take the positives from Wednesday night’s performance against Chelsea into another difficult fixture, when Manchester City visit Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The Hornets were narrowly defeated by the reigning European champions, but Ranieri could see his philosophy in practice in midweek and can see improvement from his first game against Liverpool in October.

Although the Italian has been pleased with how his side have played in recent weeks, he now wants to see the performances translate to points on the board in the Premier League, something he is sure will happen.

“My first match here against Liverpool, it has changed a lot [since]!” the Head Coach said.

“We are improving, in attack and defence. Right now I think we are in a good moment. Sometimes we make mistakes but yesterday [against Chelsea] it wasn’t mistakes, it was the quality of the opponent.

“I think our fans are proud of us, because when you play how we played last night what more can you do? When you play against champions they can invent anything at any moment.

“For my philosophy it is important to attack! I want to attack in every situation, but it is important to play with one, two touches and move quickly. That’s what Manchester City do. It will be very hard but we are ready.

“I’m very confident with my players but of course, I am a very pragmatic manager and I want to take points. If you play well in three games and take no points, it’s not good. Now is the moment to get points, we are in the relegation battle and have to react. We have to react every time.”

Injuries to the likes of Ismaïla Sarr, Ben Foster and Nicolas Nkoulou haven’t helped the Italian since his arrival, but his 35 years in management have allowed him to adapt accordingly, and Ranieri knows his squad is well-equipped to cope.

One player who has shone throughout is Emmanuel Dennis. The forward has six goals and five assists in the Premier League, and his Head Coach wants to see even more from the Nigerian.

“When there are some injuries you have to find solutions, be clever,” Ranieri explained.

“Only with work can you do this. Of course my experience helps me to find solutions, but I also have quality players to do this.

“I’m not surprised because he [Dennis] is a very good player. He scored twice at the Bernabeu! Anyone who scores two at the Bernabeu is not a normal man. He has speed, intelligence, he is generous, and I like how he plays. He has to improve because he is young, but I have a very good relationship with him, and all of my players.”

Manchester City will provide a tough test for the Hornets, similarly to the game in midweek, but Ranieri wants his side to play at their best and play with the same passion and attitude.

He said: “It’s a fantastic team, [Pep] Guardiola is working very well to build a fantastic quality team and they can make the difference in every situation. For this reason we must be focused, 100 per cent.

“I prepare in the same way, I try to study the opponent and tell my players everything they must do to try to win. There are two situations on the pitch, when you attack and when you defend. We have to improve our attack, and improve our defence.

“I know very well, against Chelsea we were the underdog team, everyone is thinking Watford will lose against Manchester City, but we will play at the maximum we can do.”

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