Claudio Ranieri has told his Watford players he believes in them and their ability to turn things around as they prepare for arguably the most important week in the head coach’s time at the club.

The Italian has lost ten of the 12 games he has been in charge of so far and needs to turn things around to stop his team slipping into the relegation zone, which sits just two points beneath them.

Defeat at St James’ Park on Saturday would see the Hornets fall into the drop zone ahead of two further crucial games against Burnley and Norwich City.

However, Ranieri said he is confident in his squad, especially with their new recruits, and believes their position in the table does not reflect how hard they have been working so far.

“I believe in this team and I’m sure at the end we will be safe,” said the head coach.

“We have to change position, it’s not possible to continue this way, but I remember in the last match against Spurs in the Premier League, we were focused in that match, we were very solid and now I have new players, three new signings, and I’m very happy with the team.

“We must stay together and fight in every second of the match.

“This is a big game for us and for them, but also in this week we play three times against teams in the relegation fight.

“It’s very important to be solid and to be strong because also our opponents will be strong and solid, but I’m confident with my team.”

As well as his new signings, Ranieri will be boosted this week by the return of some injured players, with four men who had previously sidelined coming back into his squad, in the shape of Ben Foster, Kiko Femenia, Christian Kabasele and top scorer Emmanuel Dennis. 

While he would not confirm whether or not he would be bringing Foster back into his team, he did speak of the importance of Dennis, not just for his side’s goalscoring, but for the impact he also has on the rest of the squad.

“Of course, he is very important for us,” said Ranieri. 

“He scored eight goals and has five assists, but he’s important not only in this way, it’s important how he plays for the team. Always I say it’s important to play for the team.”

Even without Dennis, scoring goals has not been much of an issue for Watford so far this season, with Joshua King pitching in alongside Ismaila Sarr prior to his injury.

However, the head coach knows he needs his team to be better at the other end of the pitch if they are to pick up those all important points this week.

“Sooner or later we will score goals,” he said. 

“But it’s important we don’t concede goals. I’m Italian, I want my goal to be safe. We are working hard to look also this way.

“In football there are two ways: one when you have the ball, one when you don’t have the ball. We have to be focused during all the match.

“This week all three matches are very important for us, but also the Premier League doesn’t finish this week. For us it’s important to maintain our confident football.”