‘It is very big’ - Ranieri says Hornets are energised for City clash
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich may travel to Watford with raised spirits but Claudio Ranieri has promised the hosts are full of energy after their last result too.
The Premier League survival rivals meet in a televised Friday night encounter after both brought an end to miserable six-game losing streaks last weekend.
City beat Everton 2-1 at Carrow Road and the Hornets grabbed a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at Newcastle, which leaves them knowing Norwich would move out of the relegation zone - and above them – with a victory.
“It is very big,” said Ranieri. “It was big against Newcastle. Another crash between two teams that want to stay in the Premier League and we need the support of our crowd.
“We need the passion, we need everything, and I’m sure we will do a very good match.
“They won against Everton and now they are full of confidence but also we are full of confidence after we drew the match in the last minute at Newcastle.”
Watford drew with five shots on target at St James’ Park to just one for the hosts, the goal from Allan Saint-Maximin.
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“Also the performance against Newcastle, not just that we scored a goal at the end, but because we created very good chances,” the experienced Italian continued.
“The second half, they scored a goal but never shot at goal. For us, it is very important to get the points against Norwich.
“I know it will be a tough match but we are ready.”
The Hornets are without at least five players, with centre-back William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria), full-back Adam Masina and midfielder Imran Louza (Morocco) away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Star winger Ismaila Sarr (knee) and defender Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring) remain out but midfielder Peter Etebo and young winger Kwadwo Baah are back in training working their way back to full fitness after injury.
Three January signings all made their debuts last weekend though, with left-back Hassane Kamara signed from Nice for a reported £4m, who played alongside Norwich midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou for the French side last season - with Danny Rose out of favour and expected to leave.
Defensive midfielder Edo Kayemebe was also signed from Belgian side KAS Eupen and Brazilian centre-back Samir from Udinese.
Ranieri added: “The Premier League doesn’t stop after Norwich. We have to continue to fight, to win, to draw, to lose – I hope very few losses.
“But we are very, very full of energy now.”