Claudio Ranieri has called on his Watford players to show their character as underdogs to find a result against Manchester United this weekend.

The head coach said he lived for the kind of atmosphere that he is expecting on Saturday when he hosts Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men at Vicarage Road and said he wants his players to rise to the challenge and the pressure.

“The pressure, my life is pressure, pressure every day. I love this kind of pressure and I took this job for the pressure,” he said.

“I’m alive and I love when there is this kind of duel between a big team against an underdog team, I want my players to show the character and their arrogance and to try to do their best.

“It will be a very good match between two teams who want to win. We have a lot of respect for Manchester United, but we want to do our match in front of our fans and I’m very positive and I think we can do something good.”

Alongside spirit, Ranieri knows that improvement is needed for his players to get something from the game and push themselves away from the relegation battle.

In order to do that, he knows that things have to be better in every area of the pitch, with his side yet to keep a clean sheet this season and goals not coming as regularly as the Italian would like.

Crucially though, he wants his players to start playing with consistency, rather than showing impressive spells in brief moments during matches.

“We are trying to get some clean sheets, but also we need to score goals,” he said.

“We have very good strikers up, they front just need to understand better my ideas. I think they can do very good. If you remember against Everton, we scored five goals and everything was easier. Now we have gone back a little more, but that’s normal when a new manager arrives.

“You must be consistent in every match during all the match.

“I tell to them, we have to start well, don’t wait to try to do their best. They have to do it from the beginning and not after we concede a goal.”

One specific area of improvement Ranieri is focused on is his players’ movement, which he believes is indicative of how well they understand both his game plan and his philosophy.

Having already seen his players execute his ideas well against Everton, he expects them to be able to achieve even better performances as the season goes on.

“I know if there’s some movement, they must understand me very well,” he said.

“If you see the Everton match, they did very well. I don’t think about the goals, or the victory, but the movement and philosophy was perfect.

“If they did this in only my second match, they can do this much better this season.”

With Manchester United and, in particular, Solskjaer under pressure at the moment, there is some suggestion that now could be the best time to be facing them, but Ranieri is still cautious of how dangerous they can be.

“I don’t know if it’s a good time but this is the time for us to play against Manchester,” he said. “We are ready to fight against one of the biggest teams in Europe and in England. I know much better all my players. Of course, I learned a lot in training sessions and matches are different. We have a good team and we have to fight to be safe at the end of the season.”