“It’d be very strange if it happened another time” – Claudio Ranieri backs Super Eagles vice-captain to overcome blunder

The Nigerian defender was to blame for one of the Leicester City goals that condemned the Hornets to defeat at the weekend

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri is convinced that William Troost-Ekong’s blunder at Leicester City is a mistake that the Super Eagles centre-half will not repeat in his life.

Troost-Ekong misjudged a Jonny Evans long ball which allowed James Maddison to steal in and fire the Foxes in front during their Premier League clash at the Vicarage Road.

Despite compatriot Emmanuel Dennis’ brilliance in winning a penalty and scoring another goal for Watford, the Hornets eventually fell 4-2 to the Brendan Rodgers-tutored City.

French midfielder and Watford captain Moussa Sissoko is one of those associated with the club who has expressed their disappointment with Ekong’s error.

But ahead of their midweek league tie against EPL leaders Chelsea, Ranieri has offered his support to the Super Eagles captain.

The former Blues manager has backed the Nigerian to learn a valuable lesson from the past and emerge with renewed focus.

“It’s focus – focus on the match,” Ranieri said at his pre-match press conference.

“That was a mistake because he (Troost-Ekong) thought he was alone and said, ‘okay, I’ll leave the ball to the keeper’ but the keeper didn’t ask for the ball. Now I’m sure it never never can happen again because it would be very strange if it happened another time.

“I’m sure Will will be very focused and very determined in every match we play.”

Ekong could have been hurt and down by the criticisms that have flowed his way since that Leicester gaffe. But Ranieri has assured that his Watford teammates have been doing their best to lift his spirit and help him react positively.

“I think this is the right way,” the Italian manager said.

“Also, his teammates say, ‘come on, that can happen’ we have to react.

“In life, people can slow down, but it’s important how they react, and I’m sure Will will react very, very well.”

Troost-Ekong has made 12 appearances for the Hornets in his debut season in the Premier League, with the number 5 appearing in the starting lineup 11 times.

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