Claudio Ranieri was delighted with Watford’s win at Everton but wants his team to quickly move on and impress again against Southampton.
Ranieri had been on the wrong end of a 5-0 thrashing at home to Liverpool in his first game in charge of the Hornets. But Watford responded in quite stunning fashion with four late goals away to Everton to sensationally win 5-2.
That seemingly set the standard for Ranieri’s side moving forward, but the coach acknowledges his players cannot afford to rest on that result.
Saturday’s visitors to Vicarage Road, Southampton, are just two points and two places behind Watford.
“Of course the boost (beating Everton) was very important, as were the three points on the table, but we must forget what happened and continue in this way,” Ranieri said. “We have a difficult match because every match in the Premier League is difficult. We must be careful and play with intelligence.
“I think we played so badly against Liverpool and very well against Everton, now I want to see the next match against Southampton.”
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is preparing his team to face a performance of the ilk of Watford’s win last time out, although he admits to knowing little of Ranieri’s approach so early in his reign.
“We don’t have many games to watch and see what they do, but the last game definitely can be the direction they want to play,” he said. “They were very successful. Finally, we have to adapt to the best possible opponent we can expect, this is what we do every week.
“We’ve had an intense one so far, with two games against Burnley and Chelsea, and now we have to concentrate again on a tough game, but we will be ready for it.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Watford – Josh King
King scored a hat-trick against former club Everton, but Watford will now want to see a similar level of performance from the forward on a weekly basis. He never scored for the Toffees, so the challenge is to be more consistent at Vicarage Road.
Southampton – Armando Broja
Saints had hoped Adam Armstrong would be able to replace Danny Ings at St Mary’s, but it is Broja who has quickly found his scoring touch, netting on both of his Premier League stars so far. He will aim to keep that run going.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Watford have won just one of their past 13 league meetings with Southampton (D6 L6), beating them 2-0 at St Mary’s in September 2017.
– Southampton have not lost an away league match against Watford since September 2007 in the Championship (W3 D4 since), beating them 3-1 in their last such visit in June 2020.
– Watford are looking to win back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time since July 2020 (vs Norwich and Newcastle). The Hornets scored more goals in their 5-2 win against Everton last time out than they had in their previous seven league games combined (four).
– After losing 5-0 to Liverpool in their last home league game, Watford could lose back-to-back Premier League games at Vicarage Road for the first time since November 2019. Meanwhile, the Hornets are without a clean sheet in nine home Premier League games, conceding 20 goals in this run (2.2 per game).
– Southampton have won just one of their past 17 away league matches (D4 L12), beating Sheffield United 2-0 in March of last season. Saints are winless in nine away league outings overall (D2 L7), last going 10 without a win on the road in September 2015.