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Claudio Ranieri: Watford appoint Italian as Xisco Munoz's successor

Former Chelsea and Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri takes charge of a side with seven points from their opening seven Premier League games; Xisco Munoz's last match was a 1-0 defeat against Leeds; Ranieri is the 13th different permanent manager since the Pozzo family became owners in 2012

Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new manager
Image: Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new head coach

Watford have appointed Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach on a two-year contract after sacking Xisco Munoz.

The Italian, who guided Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016, left his role as Sampdoria manager at the end of last season.

Watford, who are 15th in the Premier League with seven points from seven games, sacked head coach Munoz after less than 10 months in charge on Sunday morning.

Spaniard Munoz, 41, replaced Vladimir Ivic in December 2020 and guided the club to automatic promotion from the Championship last season.

Munoz's last match in charge was a 1-0 defeat against Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday.

Ranieri is Watford's 13th different permanent boss since the Pozzo family completed their takeover of Watford in 2012.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds' win over Watford in the Premier League

Ranieri, who will be 70 later this month and has also managed Chelsea and Fulham, is well-known by the Watford owners with it believed he has been a candidate for the role in the past.

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His first game in charge will be against Liverpool in the Premier League at Vicarage Road after the international break on October 16.

Watford's next eight games:

Liverpool (h) October 16
Everton (a) October 23
Southampton (h) October 30
Arsenal (a) November 7
Manchester United (h) November 20
Leicester (a) November 28
Chelsea (h) November 30 (fixture will move to a date later in the week)
Manchester City (h) December 4

Watford confirmed Ranieri will be joined by assistant coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia, as well as fitness coach Carlo Spignoli.

Munoz surprised that 'wonderful' Watford journey came to an end

Munoz admitted he did not expect his Watford departure after becoming the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season.

A club statement announcing the Spaniard's departure said recent results "strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving".

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Watch: Xisco Munoz's last interview as Watford head coach

Munoz issued his own statement via Twitter after leaving Vicarage Road, saying: "It's been a wonderful journey and it concluded in a way that I neither expected nor wished for.

"I'm grateful and I will only remember all the good things I have experienced.

"It's a sad day for me and my family because it marks the end of a period at a club and in a city where we have felt at home.

"I've got nothing but words of gratitude for the club that gave me the opportunity to start my first adventure in this exciting country.

"My heartfelt thanks to the players to put blind faith and believing in me and my staff from the first moment so that together we could achieve the dream of promotion to the Premier League.

"And many thanks to all the members of the club who don't appear on the photos, because they are essential for the proper functioning of this team. You made my life so much easier.

"Finally, I would like to make a special shout out to the fans. It's only been a year, but I will never forget its intensity and the treatment you have always given me over the year. I will always be a Watford FC fan."

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