Watford have sacked their manager Marco Silva following the club’s 2-0 defeat against Leicester on Saturday, with his replacement Javi Gracia appointed just hours after.
The Watford board of directors cited the “unwarranted approach” from Everton last year as “the catalyst” for the decision to sack Silva, after the Portuguese became a target for Everton when they were seeking a replacement for Ronald Koeman.
Despite an excellent start at Watford, a run of one win — after the aforementioned approach — in 11 matches has now cost Silva his job.
“This has been a difficult decision and one not taken lightly,” read a club statement. “The club is convinced the appointment of Silva was the right one and had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under his leadership.”
“The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach, something which the board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford has been jeopardised. For the security and success of the football club, the board believes it has to make a change.”
Stepping into his shoes is Spaniard Javi Gracia, who signed an 18-month contract at Vicarage Road after being out of a job when he left Russian club Rubin Kazan last June.
Gracia, 47, who will be the 10th manager to work for Watford under the Pozzo family since 2012, says restoring confidence to the squad will be one of his first tasks.
“The team has played some good matches this season and I think they can do it again,” he told the club website. “It’s not easy arriving in the middle of the season, but you must be ready and I am grateful and have plenty of energy to win the rest of the matches. It is a big challenge, but it is also a dream.”
Gracia will also be the eighth Premier League manager to lose his job this season, following changes at Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester City, Stoke, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham.