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Claudio Ranieri – SAMI MOKBEL: Watford should have talked to Fulham before hiring Italian

Perhaps Claudio Ranieri knew what came of day dot.

Perhaps that is why he chose not to fully engage with Watford’s players during his 112 days in charge at Vicarage Road.

He was rarely seen in the training ground canteen, the central hub of the club’s London Colney base. He kept his dignity and was lord to the last; polite and charming to those he crossed paths with. But his heart was not with it; that was clear.

Claudio Ranieri SAMI MOKBEL Watford should have talked to

His resignation on Monday came as no surprise. sports post revealed on New Year’s Day that he was heading for the sack amid doubts about his suitability as head coach.

But the claim that everyone knew of the Italian’s nomination as Xisco Munoz’s successor in October was doomed from the start, but is not necessarily correct.

The news of his arrival was greeted with excitement by the playing side, who were stunned that someone of Ranieri’s pedigree had agreed to join a club not known for its stability. However, it didn’t take long for the penny to drop.

A nice man, a true Premier League legend – but not the person you want to be the mastermind of an escape from relegation.

If the Pozzo family had done enough due diligence before appointing Ranieri, they might not be in this mess. Instead, Watford is in 19th place with just seven points out of a possible 36 during the Italian’s disastrous reign.

Watford’s first call should have been with Fulham.

Ranieri, two years after his historic title win at Leicester, was hired by the Cottagers to help them get to safety. A relative no-brainer given its lofty performance. Far from it, as Fulham found to their disadvantage.

Three wins from his 19 matches, Ranieri was relieved of his duties after being in charge for just 106 days. His training methods were old-fashioned and obnoxious at Fulham’s training headquarters in Motspur Park. His dedication also left a lot to be desired.

“He was out the door before the cones were even collected,” said a Craven Cottage source involved during Ranieri’s horrific period in charge.

There may be a touch of humor in that joke; but it was certainly no laughing matter at the time, as Fulham were relegated. If Watford had taken the time to call, they might not have learned by now.

Indeed, it seems that Ranieri’s methods haven’t changed much since then.

Maybe he’s just a deputy. There’s nothing wrong with that, Sir Alex Ferguson often empowered his team in the back room with tasks that would fall under his purview.

1643055021 210 Claudio Ranieri SAMI MOKBEL Watford should have talked to

1643055021 210 Claudio Ranieri SAMI MOKBEL Watford should have talked to

1643055022 496 Claudio Ranieri SAMI MOKBEL Watford should have talked to

1643055022 496 Claudio Ranieri SAMI MOKBEL Watford should have talked to

But when you’re in a relegation battle, players want to know that their manager is as involved as they are.

Ranieri did not reproduce that impression, rightly or wrongly. His tendency to quickly escape from work, as did his archaic training sessions, remained.

“It was probably hard to bond with the players because he was never there,” said a Watford insider.

His man-management would also be questionable, his failure to explain to players why they had been dropped was a particular complaint among the squad.

Of course, there are obvious mitigating factors. The club’s recruitment has been poor, which is undoubtedly the main factor behind their poor season so far.

Ranieri also inherited a squad notorious for being rambunctious, although claims that the dressing room is “toxic” have been described as exaggerated.

There are said to be ‘one or two’ players whose egos rub teammates in the wrong direction, and while morale at the club is clearly low, that has been attributed to poor results rather than anything more sinister.

Ranieri and Moussa Sissoko (left) both addressed the locker room after Norwich's loss

Ranieri and Moussa Sissoko (left) both addressed the locker room after Norwich's loss

Ranieri and Moussa Sissoko (left) both addressed the locker room after Norwich’s loss

The Italian’s latest score came on Friday evening when he saw his team capitulate at home to Norwich.

Ranieri spoke to his players in the dressing room before captain Moussa Sissoko had his say in hopes of boosting the team, but by then the damage was done.

The Pozzo family does not shy away from being embarrassed, the doubts that arose at the beginning of January had crystallized.

sports post understands Watford were ready to sack Ranieri if they lost to Burnley last Tuesday night – a match postponed due to Covid.

They probably wished they had.

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