Soccer-Ranieri raring to go on Premier League return with Watford

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Fomer Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri is in talks to become the next Watford coach. Here is is seen during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Sampdoria - San Siro, Milan, Italy - April 3, 2021 . REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

(Reuters) - Watford's new manager Claudio Ranieri is nine days away from celebrating his 70th birthday but said he is still young enough to take on the challenge of keeping the club in the Premier League.

Ranieri arrives at Vicarage Road as successor to Xisco Munoz after the Spaniard left Watford seven games into the season.

The Italian, who led Leicester City to a shock league title in 2015-16 and last worked in England's top flight during the 2018-19 campaign with Fulham, said he was looking forward to his Premier League return and outlined his ambition for Watford.

"I never give up... I have a strong character, I am still young and I want to continue," Ranieri told a news conference on Wednesday ahead of his first game in charge against Liverpool.

"I'm very happy to come back to the Premier League, (it's) one of the best leagues in the world. I'm an ambitious man and I hope to keep Watford safe this season."

Watford are 15th in the Premier League with seven points from as many games. They host Liverpool on Saturday, before further league fixtures against Everton, Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Ranieri is the 13th managerial appointment in nine years for the club's owner Gino Pozzo, who fired Munoz earlier this month. However, Ranieri said he is not concerned about the managerial turnover at the club.

"In Italy, it is normal to change managers (frequently)... I can't think about previous managers and Xisco was my player in Valencia, I hope he can find a new solution very soon. But now, I have to do my best for Watford," the Italian added.

"We have to be safe and then slowly we go up. Forty points we have to achieve and next season 41, then 42 and 43. On Saturday, there will be one of the best teams in the world... It will be a battle, and we will battle."

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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