Ranieri: “We Are Ready For This Battle”

By: Watford FC Staff

Ahead of a Friday night clash with fellow promoted side Brentford, Watford Head Coach Claudio Ranieri understands the next game and the Christmas period will be a tough test for his squad but is confident the quality of his players will garner positive results.

A difficult run of fixtures against five teams who finished in last season’s top six saw the Hornets produce impressive performances, including victory at home to Manchester United. Ranieri is hoping to see his side keep a first clean sheet in the lead-up to Christmas and is keen to stress that defensive solidity is the responsibility of the whole squad, not just the backline.

“We have to defend better, the whole team, because we are conceding too many goals,” the Head Coach explained. “As an Italian manager I don’t like it too much.

“We have to understand why we concede the goal and try our best to not concede them. I think we are ready to achieve a clean sheet and I think from here to Christmas Day, we will get a clean sheet.

The forwards at Vicarage Road have been in inspired form under the Italian, with Cucho Hernández scoring in last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City. Even with Ismaïla Sarr out due to injury, Ranieri knows he can count on the attackers at his disposal.

“I have very good strikers, they are very dangerous but they also help the team to stay together, and I appreciate that a lot,” said Ranieri.

“I love him [Hernández] because always during the training session he gives 100 per cent. He is a fighter and I love these kinds of people.”

Brentford are expected to be without talisman Ivan Toney and creative winger Sergi Canós for the meeting with the Hornets, but the Watford Head Coach doesn’t believe that makes the game any easier for his side.

Ranieri, 70, has watched the Bees in action on a number of occasions this season and knows of recent fixtures between the two sides. He expects a competitive encounter, and insists his team are prepared.

“Every match in the Premier League is a tough match, this one is very difficult,” he continued. “Last season I know Watford drew at home and lost the away match 2-0. I also know in a pre-season friendly match we lost here 3-1. Against Brentford it will be a very tough match, but we are ready to fight.

“I watched Brentford, and at the beginning it was fantastic how they pressed and how they play, and they continued in this way. It’s important to play with the right mentality, and Brentford are doing well.

“We must know what to do to try to win the match. It’s a well organised team, but we are also well organised and are ready for this battle.”

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