Claudio Ranieri has revealed how his appointment as Watford manager has ended a 20-year pursuit by the Pozzo family and satisfied his desire for another taste of English football.
‘Why not Watford?’ said Ranieri, who was tempted to Vicarage Road by the club’s owner Italian Gino Pozzo to start a new coaching project at the age of 69. ‘Watford is a good team in the Premier League.
‘I have known the Pozzo family since a long time ago. It was 20 years ago, roughly, when I first met Mr Giampoalo Pozzo, the father of Mr Gino Pozzo. He wanted me in Udinese and we didn’t achieve it.
Claudio Ranieri has revealed how his appointment as Watford manager has ended a 20-year pursuit by the Pozzo family and satisfied his desire for another taste of English football
‘We were always very close but I never had the opportunity to manage the Udinese. When Mr Gino Pozzo called me after the Leeds defeat and asked me if I would like to come to Watford and like to come back into the Premier League and I thought why not.’
Ranieri, who has coached Chelsea and Fulham but is famed as the architect of Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title win in 2016, left Italy for England the very next day and has signed a two-year contract.
Gianpaolo Pozzo previously wanted Ranieri at Udinese but says ‘we didn’t achieve it’
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‘I love English football,’ said Ranieri. ‘I loved it before I first arrived in 2000. When I was a player, my style was very similar to English football: very tough, very strong in every duel and that’s what I want from my players.
‘I want them to play with an honest tackle and sporting but also I want to see the spirit.
‘I am very happy to play in one of the best leagues in the world. I am an ambitious man and I hope to bring Watford to be safe at the end of the season, slowly, slowly and then to improve next season.
Ranieri, who has coached Chelsea and Fulham but is famed as the architect of Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title win in 2016 (above)
‘The programme here is very ambitious and I am ambitious and then I hope it will be fantastic for Watford and our fans.’
He is not promising more fairy tales but he won’t rule it out.
‘If it was a fairytale it is because it happens once every 100 years,’ said Ranieri. ‘I don’t know but, in sport, it could happen. For now we have to be safe. Do you remember me at Leicester? Forty points, 40 points, 40 points, 40 points we had to achieve.’