Watford appoints Claudio Ranieri as its new manager

Last updated on October 5, 2021 6:28 pm (UK time)

Watford has appointed Claudio Ranieri as its new head coach on a two-year contract after firing Xisco Muñoz.

The Italian, who led Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016, left his job as Sampdoria manager at the end of last season.

The 69-year-old replaces Xisco Muñoz, who was sacked following a 1-0 loss to Leeds at the weekend, leaving the club 15th in the Premier League with two wins from seven games.

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Watford will be Ranieri’s fourth Premier League club. He has turned down approaches from several Italian clubs in recent weeks, having left Sampdoria at the end of last season, and comes to Watford with the team within seven points of his first seven matches with Muñoz. The Spaniard became the sixth permanent appointment to leave the club since the summer of 2017 despite leading Watford to promotion five months ago.

Watford said in a statement: “Watford is delighted to confirm the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as the club’s new head coach, on a two-year contract. The Italian comes to Vicarage Road with a wealth of experience in charge of some of the biggest clubs in Europe, with titles from the Premier League, Coppa Italia and the Copa del Rey among his management highlights ”.

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Ranieri is Watford’s thirteenth permanent boss since the Pozzo family completed their acquisition of Watford in 2012.

Ranieri, whose first home game against Liverpool after the international break, will be joined at Watford by assistant coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia and the physical trainer Carlo Spignoli

Ranieri last worked in England during the 2018-19 season, when he took over at Fulham in November, but won just three of his 17 games before being fired after just 106 days in charge and replaced by Scott Parker.

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Their previous spell at Leicester was far more successful, leading them to the Premier League title in 2015-16 before being shown the door the following season with the club one point above the relegation zone.

Ranieri also managed to get Chelsea to second place in his first place in England between 2000 and 2004.

Muñoz issued his own statement via Twitter after leaving Vicarage Road, saying: “It has been a wonderful journey and it ended in a way that I neither expected nor desired.

“I am grateful and I will only remember all the good things that I have experienced.

“It is a sad day for me and my family because it marks the end of a stage in a club and in a city where we have felt at home.

“I have nothing but words of appreciation for the club that gave me the opportunity to begin my first adventure in this exciting country.

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“My sincere thanks to the players for putting blind faith and believing in me and my staff from the get-go so that together we could achieve the dream of promotion to the Premier League.

“And many thanks to all the members of the club who do not appear in the photos, because they are essential for the proper functioning of this team. You made my life so much easier.

“Finally, I would like to give a special thank you to the fans. It’s only been a year, but I will never forget its intensity and the treatment you have always given me throughout the year. I will always be a fan of Watford FC. “

Personally, I am quite surprised by Muñoz’s dismissal. The Spaniard took over 10 months ago and led Watford to second place in the championship last season, which meant an automatic promotion to the Premier League.

The Hornets have only won 2 Premier League games against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, however their 7 points put them ahead of Norwich, Burnley, Newcastle, Southampton and Leeds. If I had to put money into the first layoff of the season, I would have opted for Norwich’s Daniel Farke, who has only managed 1 point in a draw against Burnley since returning to the Premier League.

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I now believe that unless Steve Bruce can turn Newcastle’s fortunes quickly, he will be the next managerial casualty.

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