Ranieri returned to England again. What has he been up to since leaving championship Leicester?
Being the head coach of Watford is a guarantee that you will be kicked out at the first setbacks. On Vicaridge Road they don’t stand on ceremony with anyone. In the last 10 years alone, the club has changed 15 coaches. Watford have now removed Hisco Muñoz, despite the fact that he brought the team to the Premier League. After seven rounds, the team is on the 15th line. A normal result considering the squad – Watford has the cheapest in the Premier League according to Transfermarkt.
In the final round, Watford lost 0-1 to Leeds, and The Athletic released material in which journalist Adam Leventhal suggested that the Spaniard would be fired. Insiders reported that Watford was unhappy that Muñoz had “no organization, no plan.”
Right now, the team is in the penultimate line in the Premier League in terms of expected goals – 6.06 xG, worse only Norwich (5.63 xG). And this despite the fact that Norwich have already played against Liverpool, Man City, Everton and Leicester – Watford have yet to play with them.
Muñoz did not even last 10 months as head coach – now Claudio Ranieri will steer the team instead . The dismissal of Muñoz was included in the top 20 fastest retirements in the history of the Premier League – however, “Watford” did not break their own record. More rapid stories also happened.
Why does Watford change coaches so often?
In 2012, the owner of the club was businessman Giampaolo Pozzo – the one who runs the Italian Udinese. In Italy, Pozzo also constantly changed coaches, so the proprietary leapfrog was carried over to Vicarage Road. Soon, Giampaolo handed the club over to his son Gino, but the situation has not changed. Pozzo Jr. was no less merciless in getting rid of the coaches.
The longest period under Pozzo at Watford was former Rubin coach Xavi Gracia – 594 days. Under him, the team reached the FA Cup final and finished 11th in the Premier League in the 2018/2019 season. But as soon as Gracia started uncertainly in the new championship, he was immediately fired. After four games.
It was even cooler – in just over a month at the start of the 2014/2015 Championship, Watford changed its head coach four times. Moreover, the first to go out was the good Giuseppe Sannino – he won four wins in five starting matches, but became a victim of a conflict with the team.
It may seem that the owners of Watford are very impulsive people, but here the essence lies in the system of the club. Pozzo Sr. brought the management patterns of Udinese to England, where head coach is usually associated with manager. At Watford, the coaches do not have a key influence on the selection and transfer issues – they simply hire specialists to directly manage the team. In this case, getting rid of the coach is much easier – other people are responsible for the overall strategy.
Former Watford sporting director Filippo Giraldi explained the concept in an interview with The Athletic: “We always explain to coaches where they go. Watford is the case when the club is responsible for selection and personnel policy. Therefore, we are not one of those who leave the coach alone and let him continue to work. If we see that the coach does not have a clear plan, for example, he works with one system all week, and then goes to the match with a different plan, this may be a signal of disorganization or despair. And here a decision is already being made. “
Why Ranieri? Is he still good?
After the league title with Leicester, the Italian coach had an extremely difficult season. If in the Champions League the club confidently left the group from the first place (Leicester reached the quarterfinals without Ranieri), then in the Premier League the team actually fought for survival. By the time of the dismissal, the Italian team was in 17th place – the last straw for the management was the defeat in the first match of the 1/8 Champions League against Sevilla (1: 2).
Sale of Kante, sluggish Marez, second season syndrome, adaptation of opponents to Ranieri’s tactics, conflict with the team (according to rumors) – all this became the prerequisites for the sad end of the Italian fairy tale.
Then many pounced on Leicester. Jose Mourinho even came to one of the Chelsea press conferences wearing a shirt with the initials CR: “Ranieri deserves to have Leicester Stadium named after him. I got fired from Chelsea as the reigning champion. An extremely bad resignation, as I thought then. But these are still flowers compared to what happened to Claudio. ” An interesting gesture, if you recall the history of Jose’s not the warmest relationship with Ranieri.
Soon after Ranieri’s resignation, there were rumors that he could lead Zenit, but in St. Petersburg they opted for Roberto Mancini. In the summer of 2017, Ranieri headed Nantes, with which he finished in 9th place in the French Championship (a year earlier, Nantes took 7th place).
A significant point in the story with Nantes was the absence of Ranieri at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the club: “When I arrived at the place, there were too many cars in the parking lot. Finding free parking was unrealistic. Then I told the president that I would not be at the ceremony. After that, I asked the driver to take me to the airport, from where I took a private plane to London. My apartment ceiling has leaked as a result of heavy rain. “
Then Ranieri was out of work for six months, after which he agreed to the offer of Fulham, drowning in the departure zone of the nuclear submarine. But the repetition of the tale did not happen – for 3.5 months Ranieri could not do anything with the unbalanced lineup and gave way to Scott Parker.
In March 2019, Ranieri returned to Roma, replacing the fired Di Francesco, but failed to cope with the task of taking the team to the Champions League. However, the Roma fans made a warm farewell to the coach and hung out a banner : “Mr. Ranieri, at a difficult moment you accepted the challenge, and now you receive a tribute from your people.”
After a short break, Ranieri came to Sampdoria (by the way, he replaced Di Francesco again), which he brought to 9th place in Serie A last season. Here, Claudio again worked with his favorite 4-4-2 formation and gave the team vertical counter-attacking football, in which you could sometimes recognize the features of Leicester from the 2015/16 season. In the summer, the Italian left the club.
Now – another call to England. Watford quickly made a decision – Pozzo Jr. is well acquainted with Ranieri and has repeatedly invited him to the VIP box for matches. In addition, Ranieri still has a house in London, left over from his days at Chelsea (the same one where the ceiling leaked).
One of The Athletic’s sources at Watford shares this opinion: “I’m not sure if this is the right choice. We’ll have to wait and see. However, Ranieri is much more experienced than Hisko. Now we have a difficult calendar, matches against the leaders – the new coach is expected to exceed expectations, as was the case at Leicester.
There are two outcomes. If Ranieri fails, he will be fired very quickly – this is the Watford system. However, Ranieri’s last two seasons at Sampdoria prove he has the power – why not bring another underdog up?