Claudio Ranieri praises Watford ‘crack’ star Joao Pedro

Claudio Ranieri pushed Brazilian striker Joao Pedro to become a star player for Watford.

Former Fluminense player Pedro celebrated his first Premier League goal last weekend after coming off the bench to help seal a resounding 4-1 victory over Manchester United.

Hornets boss Ranieri will be forced into an attacking reshuffle to former club Leicester on Sunday, with influential Ismaila Sarr being ruled out due to a knee injury suffered against United.

Pedro – who has only made one top start so far after some impressive performances in the Sky Bet Championship last season – is among the alternatives, although his manager has suggested he will continue to use the promising 20-year-old player as an impact substitute. for the moment.

“I believe in this player a lot,” said Ranieri. “I think he could be a crack – in football ‘crack’ means a very high level – because he’s a good professional.

“But I have to understand what his best position is because now he wants to do everything.

“I talk to him a lot because I believe in this young player. I don’t know if he’s ready to play (from the start).

“Now he’s very dangerous when he comes in during the game. But sooner or later it will start over from the beginning.

“He’s a smart player.

Watford has recorded some eyebrow-raising results since Ranieri replaced sacked Xisco Munoz in the Vicarage Road dugout at the start of last month.

Memories of a first 5-0 home loss to Liverpool, a frank goal, were erased by a surprise 5-2 success at Everton and United’s hammering last Saturday, with narrow defeats to Southampton and Arsenal between the two .

Veteran Italy Ranieri has vowed to persist in an offensive style of play as he tries to prevent the Hornets from suffering an immediate second tier return.

“I like this kind of philosophy and we have to continue this philosophy now,” he said.

“Sometimes you can press higher, sometimes you can press in the middle of the third, but it’s important that you want to do something during the whole game.

“We have to reach 40 points (to avoid relegation) and we have to keep fighting in every situation and for every ball and in the end we will see.”

Ranieri will return to King Power Stadium for the first time as an opposing manager since Leicester’s shocking title success in 2016.

The 70-year-old believes this remarkable achievement serves as a lasting lesson in triumphing over adversity.

“I think Leicester’s history has opened the minds of all small teams,” he said.

“But I also think it was a good story for the man: never, never give up.

“In the life of every man and woman there are problems, there are obstacles but if you believe that you can overtake, if you are strong at the wrong time, you can overtake.

“It means Leicester history, in my opinion.”

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