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Emmanuel Dennis' Watford have ‘very good strikers to count on’ even without injured Sarr – Ranieri

10:51 GMT+4 10/12/2021
Emmanuel Dennis, Ismaila Sarr - Watford
The 70-year-old Italian manager reveals his happiness at having a good strike force despite the absence of the Lion of Teranga

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri believes he still has “very good strikers” at his disposal despite missing the services of injured winger Ismaila Sarr.

The 23-year-old Senegal international has not started for the Hornets since the team’s 4-1 Premier League win against Manchester United at Vicarage Road on November 20.

He picked up an injury during the game against the Red Devils where he was among the goals despite missing a penalty, and has gone ahead to miss three matches in the top-flight.

Sarr, who has managed five goals so far this season from 12 appearances, missed Watford’s trip to face Leicester City at King Power Stadium where they suffered a 4-2 defeat, the 2-1 home defeat against Chelsea, and the 3-1 home defeat against Manchester City.

In Sarr's absence, Nigeria striker Emmanuel Dennis and Cucho Hernandez have been regularly used by Ranieri, with the Super Eagle the club's leading scorer with six top-flight goals from 14 appearances.

Ahead of their trip to face Brentford at Brentford Community Stadium on Friday night, the Italian coach has revealed why he is not losing sleep over Sarr's absence.

“I have very good strikers, they are very dangerous but they also help the team to stay together, and I appreciate that a lot,” Ranieri told the club’s official website.

The 70-year-old tactician has, however, called on Dennis and his teammates to make sure they defend as a team so as to avoid conceding goals.

“We have to defend better, the whole team, because we are conceding too many goals,” Ranieri continued.

“As an Italian manager, I don’t like it too much.

“We have to understand why we concede the goal and try our best to not concede them. I think we are ready to achieve a clean sheet and I think from here to Christmas Day, we will get a clean sheet.”

On facing Brentford, Ranieri said: “Every match in the Premier League is a tough match, this one is very difficult.

“Last season I know Watford drew at home and lost the away match 2-0. I also know in a pre-season friendly match we lost here 3-1. Against Brentford, it will be a very tough match, but we are ready to fight.”

Sarr’s injury is also a major concern for the Lions of Teranga as they get ready for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations set for Cameroon from January 9 to February 6.

Senegal are drawn in Group B alongside Naby Keita’s Guinea, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and they will open their campaign with a game against Zimbabwe at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium Kouekong on January 10.