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

Claudio Ranieri's tenure as Leicester City manager became legend when he won the title during his one-season stint.
Claudio Ranieri, Watford manager and now Premier League manager, is back in the league.

Since being fired by Leicester in September 2016, the 69-year old Italian manager has managed four teams, including Fulham.

He succeeds Xisco Munoz (promotion-winning manager), who was the 13th Watford manager to quit since 2012, when the Pozzo family became owners.

Is Ranieri destined to be a success? What has his performance been in recent years? Is Watford's strategy of changing managers working?

What has Ranieri done in the last few years?

Ranieri, welcome back to the Premier League

Ranieri, who has held more than 20 managerial positions in his 35-year career, has also led many big clubs, including Napoli, Fiorentina and Valencia.

Apart from the 2015-16 Premier League title with Leicester, his only major silverware was the domestic cups in Italy, Spain and Uefa Super Cup 2004.

His career seemed to be in decline after this career-defining title.

After reportedly falling out of favour with club owners, he was fired by Leicester in February 2017.

Ranieri was appointed Fulham manager in 2018-19. He lasted just 106 days and won three of 17 games. It seemed unlikely that Ranieri would be able to manage again in the Premier League at that point.

That season he ended back at Roma where he won six of the 12 games he was in charge. After that, he spent nearly two seasons at Sampdoria and then left at the end last season.

Sampdoria was bottom of Serie A in October 2019 when he assumed control. They had lost six matches in seven.

James Horncastle, an Italian football expert, told BBC Radio 5 Live that he kept the players up with games to spare. He then took Sampdoria's side, who had no money and had already sold all their players to the top half. He is still a highly capable manager.

"You must be respectful that he is just two weeks away from his 70th birthday. He could retire, enjoy the greatest league title win and travel the world speaking. He is completely addicted to coaching, but he wants to coach.

Many people will mention Fulham and how it didn't work out. He has been in similar jobs before, and either met expectations or exceeded them.

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Ranieri is now in charge of Watford 15th place in the Premier League with seven points from seven matches.

Jacob Culshaw, the founder of WD18Fans Watford fans channel, said to BBC Radio 5 Live that Ranieri is tactically superior than Xisco.

"Especially at Sampdoria, Ranieri used 4-4-2, which is a great fit for this Watford team. Ranieri's team was so aggressive at the front. That is what I love about it.

Is Watford's management system effective?

Before taking the Watford job, Xisco Munoz was only a manager for 11 matches - at Dinamo Tbilisi.

Since 2012 when the Pozzo family assumed control at Watford, Sean Dyche has been in charge. Gianfranco Zola and Giuseppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia and Billy McKinlay have each been in charge. Two Hayden Mullins also serve as caretaker.

Xisco's 36 games over 10 months - including winning promotion - would have been a brief reign at any other club. Only Zola, Flores and Mazzarri, among the 12 other managers, had more games under the Pozzo regime.

Twelve Premier League managers have been fired or removed by mutual agreement since the beginning of 2019-20. Four of those twelve were Watford bosses, even though they weren't in the top flight for any of the two seasons.

Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, said that BBC Radio 5 Live had fired a manager so early in the season. Chris Sutton, an ex-Blackburn striker and England striker, described Watford to him as "a strange club".

Sutton said: "The Watford supporters will say it makes sense, and they have done quite well, and compare them with Chelsea, but Chelsea win the trophies, and employ top, high-ranking managers. Watford is not in their bracket.

It sounds like a short-term strategy. They seem to have made their decision before the last game, which is a bad sign.

They seem to be able to use the system, except for 2019-20, when they were demoted.

The Hornets reached the FA Cup final after they had spent five consecutive seasons in the top flight. Since the 1980s, they had never managed consecutive seasons in top flight or participated in a cup final.

Geoff Doyle, BBC Three Counties Radio's sports editor, said that "if the board doesn't believe the head coach is getting maximum out of their players, he leaves." The board doesn't stay around.

"It's a little harsh on Xisco Munoz, who got Watford into Premier League with a smile but may have fallen short tactically at top level. Inexperience was also a factor. The majority of the displays in this season were not good enough.

"Watford's hire-and-fire policy was implemented under the Pozzo regime. It helped them get into the Premier League, and they remained there for five years. They are afraid of being relegated again and will say they must be proactive with their concerns about the current coach.

"Long-term, it's a bit flawed as the club lacks stability and cohesion. What if the players given to the coach don't have the ability to play well enough?

Culshaw, a Hornets fan, said that he disagreed with the firing process and the hiring system in the past.

"I've learned to not fall in love with any Watford manager, and I'm sorry when I do.

"When the owners arrived in 2012, we were at the brink of administration. We had only three stands. A real Championship club with little ambition. They made us a Premier League club.

"The model has been successful over the years. Although it is not the traditional way of running a club, it has been successful."