Watford Sack Javi Gracia, Quique Sanchez Flores Reappointed Manager

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2019

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Watford manager Javi Gracia is seen prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford FC at St. James Park on August 31, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Watford have announced the sacking of manager Javi Gracia and immediately reappointed Quique Sanchez Flores as his replacement.

Gracia was appointed Watford boss in January 2018 and led the club to 11th in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, not to mention finishing runners-up to Manchester City in last term's FA Cup final.

Watford confirmed Gracia's departure via their official website on Saturday, with Sanchez Flores swiftly reinstalled as his successor:

The Hornets have suffered home defeats to West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion this term, though, and sit at the bottom of the Premier League after four matches. 

Watford secured a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United in their previous outing to finally get their league account up and running. However, the Pozzo family have used the international break as an opportunity to cut ties with the Spanish tactician.

A statement from club chairman Scott Duxbury said: "Javi has represented Watford with great dignity and will always be deserving of our fullest respect for his achievements."

Club captain Troy Deeney recently spoke to Sky Sports News and backed Gracia, 49, to keep his place as manager despite mounting pressure, saying he is a "big boy, he knows what he's doing."

Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times tweeted prior to Gracia's dismissal that the club were interested in bringing back Sanchez Flores:

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Sanchez Flores managed Watford from June 2015 to May 2016. He held a similar record to Gracia in his single season at Vicarage Road, taking the team to 13th in the Premier League and an FA Cup semi-final.

He left the team at the end of the season, though, after they won just two of their final 12 league games.

The 54-year-old joined Espanyol following his departure from England, then managed Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua from December 2018 to July 2019.

Gracia is the first manager from the English top flight to be fired this season, though journalist James Benge said the decision was justified given Watford's recent form:

Watford broke their transfer record to sign winger Ismaila Sarr from Rennes for more than £25 million in August, but the Senegal international has hardly featured following an extended summer break.

Getting Watford's attack up to speed will be a chief priority for Sanchez Flores after the club has scored just twice in the Premier League this season, the lowest tally in the division.