Ranieri: “My Focus Is Now On The Next Three Matches”

By: Watford FC Staff

Claudio Ranieri admitted he was disappointed with the Emirates FA Cup defeat against Leicester City but is looking ahead to the important Premier League games around the corner in January.

The Golden Boys were knocked out by the Foxes after losing 4-1 at the King Power Stadium in an encounter that included first-team debuts for academy youngsters James Morris, Shaq Forde and Kamil Conteh.

João Pedro got on the scoresheet for the Golden Boys before the break but was unable to inspire a fightback as the current holders of the cup progressed to the next round.

“The performance was good but my priority was to save some players because for us the rest of the season is very important,” Ranieri said.

“I can say good luck to Leicester. Of course, during the match, we tried to do something good. We scored a goal at 2-1 and we had two or three chances where maybe we have to shoot sometimes.

“We know we had to play against last year’s winners. We gave rest to some players and gave others a chance, but our movements weren’t always the best because it is a team that haven’t played together.

“At the end, Leicester scored the goals and we didn’t. For me it was good because, first of all, I have no injured players and that is very important. I gave a rest to [Emmanuel] Dennis, [Joshua] King and the others, which for me was important.

“My focus is now only on the next three matches [against Newcastle, Burnley and Norwich]. Now we have to be solid, compact and try to do our best, as we do every match.”

Despite not featuring in the match, new arrivals Hassane Kamara, Samir and Edo Kayembe have impressed Ranieri and the Head Coach is looking forward to fully assessing the players ahead of the upcoming January fixtures.

“They have to train before I can decide whether they play or not,” Ranieri said.

“It can be difficult to put them on the pitch without a training session. Some players have finished in December and they need to have a training session. They have trained at home, but it is not the same to train with the team.”

Ranieri also gave an update on the fitness of central defensive pair Christian Kabasele and Nicolas Nkoulou: “Kabasele could be [ready] in two weeks because he started his first training session with us yesterday. Now he has to train and achieve the level of his teammates. Nkoulou is out and at the end of March he could play.”

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