“I love these kinds of players” – Italian manager impressed with Emmanuel Dennis’ quality

The Nigerian forward has needed little time to adapt to one of the world’s most demanding leagues, and has drawn praise from a veteran tactician

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has expressed his admiration for Emmanuel Dennis after the Nigerian attacker’s excellent display against Chelsea on Wednesday evening.

Dennis scored the Hornets’ only goal as Chelsea secured a 2-1 victory at the Vicarage Road thanks to efforts from Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech.

Kai Havertz may have been named the game’s man of the match but Dennis was by some distance the best Watford star on the night. 

The 24-year-old made one key pass, created one big chance, completed three successful dribbles, won ten ground duels and drew five fouls, one of which led to midfielder Niguel Saul being shown the match’s first yellow card.

Dennis’ 43rd-minute goal, however, summarised everything good about the €4 million summer signing.

The Watford number 25 surged forward on a counter and received a simple pass from captain Moussa Sissoko. He then dummied Chelsea defender Rudiger before seeing his deflected effort settle into the opponent’s net.

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That goal was Dennis’ sixth of the season and his third in consecutive games, having also hit the target against Manchester United and Leicester City in recent times.

Despite the loss, head coach Ranieri was pleased with his charges’ performance against the reigning European champions. And the Italian manager is even more delighted with the quality and consistency shown by Dennis.

“I am very happy with Emmanuel because straight away he wants to do something, I love these kinds of players,” Ranieri told Watford.com.

“He knows where the goal is and goes there straight away. But I think all the players put in fantastic performances.

“We continue to believe in our job. We are working very well and I hope our fans are proud of us, because tonight we pushed the champions of Europe in every situation.”

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Dennis has already reacted to the midweek EPL clash between the Hornets and the Blues, with the Nigerian international maintaining that the visitors were lucky to win.  

The former Club Brugge forward is becoming an influential part of Watford’s setup, having been directly involved in eight of his side’s last 10 Premier League goals.