Popular Ranieri returns to Leicester having steadied Watford

The Italian is back at the King Power Stadium on Sunday for the first time since he guided Leicester to the title in 2016 and he will undoubtedly get a warm reception from supporters.

When Ranieri was appointed by Watford, there was a sense of excitement among the squad. Moussa Sissoko contacted his France team-mate and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante to get the lowdown on his new coach.

The noises were positive and Ranieri endeared himself to the Watford squad from the off when, during one of his early meetings, he expressed his sadness at being there at the expense of his sacked predecessor Xisco Munoz.

Xisco was very popular among the squad, and Ranieri’s nod to him went down well. As did his decision to have his backroom staff sing ‘Bella Ciao’ to the squad as part of their welcome to the club.

The players have also been taken aback by how hands-on the 70-year-old is in training. Ranieri is more than happy to stop a session to physically drag someone into the right position.

His honesty with players has gone down well, too, and many have found, while he is fond of a joke, he is straight-talking.

Naturally, as when any new manager takes over, things have changed at Watford but some elements remain the same.

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