Claudio Ranieri wants Watford ‘passion and heart’ as they battle for survival

Watford v Liverpool – Premier League – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Claudio Ranieri has said he will now only pick players who show fight and believe with “passion and heart” after Watford slipped into the Premier League bottom three following their 3-0 home defeat to Norwich.

The Hornets dropped two points behind their conquerors on Friday night after suffering an eighth defeat in their last nine league and cup games.

Josh Sargent’s second-half brace set Norwich on their way at Vicarage Road and, after Watford had Emmanuel Dennis sent off for a high foot on Max Aarons, the visitors wrapped up victory through Juraj Kucka’s stoppage-time own goal.

The defeat increases the pressure on head coach Ranieri and the 70-year-old Italian is ready to shake things up as he looks for a winning formula, with a crunch clash against relegation rivals Burnley next up.

“We have to change, we have to change mentality, we can’t carry on in this way. Now I must select only the players that want to fight and now is the time to change the mentality,” he said.

“I want players who want to fight in every match and believe with passion and heart.”

Ranieri added on his club’s website: “I believe in the players who want to believe in our way. If players don’t want to understand my philosophy, then they can go home.”

The club do not have a history of sticking with under-pressure managers, although Ranieri insisted relations with the board were not of concern.

“No I speak every day with all the board and we work with the passion. We are in the right way and we have to react,” he said.

Norwich’s win was their second in succession having also beaten Everton and they have now climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.

Sargent was key to the victory as he scored his first goals in the English top flight following his summer move from Werder Bremen.

The United States international opened the scoring with an improvised flick in the 51st minute and then doubled the Canaries’ lead in the 74th minute when he headed home Milot Rashica’s cross.

“Pretty surreal I’d say, not a bad start to the year,” the 21-year-old said after the match.

“I think we did a good job of putting ourselves in good positions and unlike other games I thought we were very clinical, so hopefully that can continue.

“We want to put ourselves in the best positions to score, get crosses in and you’re not going to score unless you get those balls in and sometimes lucky things like that happen so hopefully we can continue to do that.”

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