Deep in his programme notes for his first recreation as Watford supervisor, Claudio Ranieri made a few important factors.
Having bought his delight at returning to the Premier League out of the best way, spoken of the nice and cozy reception he had acquired at Vicarage Street and addressed his new membership’s brutality at eliminating managers, he turned to the duty at hand.
The primary level he made was to state, fairly clearly, that “being secure shouldn’t be a fairytale for Watford”. The second was a request: “Stick with us please.”
After watching the 90 minutes that adopted, it was clear that whereas it may not be a fairytale, Premier League survival could be a fairly notable achievement for Ranieri given the squad he has to work with. And, if the followers are going to stay onside, they must soak up some important blows earlier than the ultimate vacation spot is reached.
“I noticed some unhealthy issues however I’ve additionally seen some good issues,” mentioned Ranieri after the 5-0 hammering by Liverpool. “The final 20 minutes we went face-to-face with Liverpool. We must always try this from the start, however we had been very nervous. Among the targets had been presents.”
It was a nightmare begin for a supervisor whose most well-known achievement is guiding Leicester to a shock title win in 2015-16, however whose most up-to-date Premier League expertise got here throughout a relegation season with Fulham in 2018-19.
This was Ranieri’s heaviest Premier League loss, and no supervisor whose first recreation with a membership within the competitors got here at house has suffered a much bigger defeat.
The issue for Ranieri when he watches this recreation again is that he’ll see that Liverpool eased off within the remaining 20 minutes. By that point they had been 4-0 forward, knew it ought to have been extra, and Mohamed Salah had scored a merely sensational purpose.
There was greater than a component of irony in regards to the standing ovation Watford acquired for his or her first nook and their first shot. And whereas it was very a lot the response of people in a crowd that confirmed their assist for Ranieri earlier than kick-off, the sound of booing within the second half was not a great signal.
Ranieri was not with out straws to clutch at as he assessed the defeat.
“I do know my gamers a lot better now I’ve met all of them,” he mentioned, acknowledging that taking up at a brand new membership throughout a global break doesn’t make for the simplest transition.
“It was our first match collectively in opposition to top-of-the-line groups on this planet. That’s not really easy.”
However positives had been more durable to come back by.
“While you play in opposition to massive groups, the reality is on the pitch,” he added.
And the reality is Watford had been merely not adequate.
Individually and collectively, they didn’t do the fundamentals. Whether or not it was maintaining tight to Salah, not permitting Roberto Firmino to float into area, being combative in midfield or urgent Liverpool’s defence, which was screening an inexperienced keeper, Watford fell a good distance brief.
And their fixture listing shouldn’t be variety.
They might not be within the relegation zone but, however with a visit to Everton subsequent week and matches in opposition to Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester Metropolis and Ranieri’s outdated golf equipment Leicester and Chelsea by the primary week in December, it might be no shock if Watford approached Christmas mired in hassle.
If he’s involved, Ranieri did a great job of hiding it.
“We all know we made some errors and we’ve to enhance subsequent week. However we’ll work this week on making an attempt to right these errors,” he mentioned. “I’ll inform them what occurred and slowly, slowly we’ll attempt to enhance.
“However I’m a really constructive particular person and all the time, my confidence is excessive.”