Claudio Ranieri: Is new Watford manager the right man for the job?

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Claudio Ranieri: Is new Watford manager the right man for the job?

Claudio Ranieri: Is new Watford manager the right man for the job?

Claudio Ranieri is back in the Premier League after being appointed as Watford manager.

The 69-year-old Italian has managed four teams – including Fulham – since being sacked by Leicester nine months after leading them to the Premier League title in 2016.

He replaces promotion-winning Xisco Munoz, who was the 13th manager to leave Watford since the Pozzo family took over as owners in 2012.

Will Ranieri be a success? How has he done in recent years? And does Watford’s policy of changing managers work?

Ranieri has had more than 20 jobs over a 35-year managerial career and has led some big clubs – Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, and Monaco.

But, apart from that stunning 2015-16 Premier League title with Leicester, his only major silverware has been domestic cups in Italy and Spain, plus the Uefa Super Cup in 2004.

His career appeared to be petering out only months after that career-defining title.

He was sacked by Leicester in February 2017, then left Nantes after one season after reportedly falling out with the club’s owners.

Ranieri took over at Fulham in 2018-19 – but lasted only 106 days with three wins from 17 games. At that stage it looked very unlikely he would manage in the Premier League again.

He ended that season back at his beloved Roma, winning six of 12 games in charge. He then spent almost two seasons at Sampdoria before leaving at the end of last season.

When he took over at Sampdoria in October 2019, they were bottom of Serie A after six defeats in seven matches.

Italian football expert James Horncastle told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He kept them up with games to spare, he then built on that in the second season and took a Sampdoria side who had no money and had sold all their players into the top half. He is still a very capable manager.

“You have to respect he is two weeks shy of his 70th birthday. He could happily retire, live off the greatest title win the league has ever seen, and go on speaking tours. But he just wants to coach, he is totally addicted to it.

“A lot of people will point to Fulham and how that didn’t end well. But he has gone into jobs like this before and either matched expectations or over-performed.”

Ranieri takes over with Watford 15th in the Premier League, with seven points from seven games.

Jacob Culshaw, founder of Watford fans’ channel WD18Fans, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Ranieri is tactically better than Xisco.

“Especially when at Sampdoria, he used 4-4-2 and that really suits this Watford squad. What I love about Ranieri’s team is they were so aggressive from the front.”

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