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Claudio Ranieri sets target for Watford

Claudio Ranieri has been in charge of Watford for just over a week and the lovable Italian coach has set the Hornets a very simple target.

Reach 40 points. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Ranieri, 69, replaced Xisco Munoz after just seven games of the Premier League season as newly-promoted Watford have a horrendous run of games to start his time in charge at Vicarage Road.

His first game in charge of Watford is against Liverpool this Saturday (watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET onPeacock Premium), as Ranieri’s boys aim to shock Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers.

The enigmatic Italian coach, who led Leicester City to their incredible Premier League title in 2015-16 despite insisting all season long they just wanted to get to 40 points and stave off relegation, has a very similar message for Watford.

Ranieri sets out target for Watford

“We have to be safe, and then slowly, slowly go up,” Claudio Ranieri said. “The project is very good, very ambitious. I hope our link will be fantastic for Watford and for our fans. In sport, anything could happen. We have to achieve 40 points, and after 41, 42, 43...”

“My style when I was a player was very similar to English football: very tough, very strong, every duel. That’s what I want with my players. I want them to play well...but also I want to see the spirit of England.”

The words Ranieri and pragmatism go together like bread and butter. Pragmatism is exactly what he will bring to Watford as they try and stay in the Premier League.

They have the players to be a dangerous counter-attacking team and Ranieri is very good at setting teams up to be solid defensively and tough to beat.

We saw that with Leicester City and at pretty much every single team he has managed during his extremely long managerial career. Can he do it again?

Can Watford get 40 points?

On paper this Watford squad isn’t as strong as when they were last in the Premier League and aside from Ismaila Sarr and perhaps Emmanuel Dennis creating chances and scoring goals, they look set for a season of struggle.

They added Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose to bring extra experience to the squad and their wins against Aston Villa and Norwich City so far this season were decent enough, as they exceeded expectations early in the campaign.

That said, their schedule early in the season was favorable, and they now face a string of tough games as they play all of Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal, Man United, Leicester, Chelsea and Man City in their next eight games.

Claudio Ranieri has to pull off a few surprises in the next few months to get Watford in a good position. We all know he can set up a team to defend and let’s see if he can inspire this Watford team to get to 40 points.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports