Tag Archives: javi gracia

Watford sack Javi Gracia as Quique Sánchez Flores returns

Watford FC have parted ways with Javi Gracia after a poor start to the Premier League campaign. 

Four games into the season and Watford find themselves in the miserable scenario as they are currently bottom of the table.

They have a solitary point from four matches and are having the worst possible start to the campaign. In view of this, the board has decided to sack Javi Gracia from his role as manager.

Does it look too harsh?

In his dramatic 20 months at the helm, the 49-year-old Spanish tactician led the Hornets to an FA Cup final and cruised to an 11th position finish in the Premier League.

During his tenure, he has handled several high profile players including Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu, Abdoulaye Doucouré, etc.

Perhaps, his sacking after an abysmal start does seem to be a bit harsh. It could have been a result of the constant desire of results from the board and a bit of impatience, considering the manager and strategies he wanted to implement while he was at the club.

Football pundit Chris Sutton while delivering his thoughts on the Gracia-Watford case, insisted,

Watford sacking of Javi Gracia is a disgrace,” tweeted Sutton. “This can’t be justified. Quique Sanchez Flores back in but he was sacked by Watford not so long back? Football is bonkers.”

After the 1-1 draw versus Newcastle, Gracia, in the press conference, which ultimately turned out be his last one, gave references to a similar situation he faced at Malaga in La Liga a few years ago.

“I think we went to six games at Málaga without scoring. But we improved and finished in eighth. If you are winning, you only need time to see when you are going to lose – and when you are losing, you only need time to see when you win. We want to win as soon as possible, and we need to. I did it in the past, and now I want to do the same again.”

However, now it’s time for the club and their fans to look ahead.

Just minutes after his departure, Watford resigned Sanchez Flores as their new manager.

In the end, Javi Gracia’s successor has a big task on hand. Watford are 20th and the board and fans would want him to fix it as soon as possible.

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Javi Gracia – How has he changed Watford?

Since their promotion in 2015, Watford, have endured a slow, but steady rise which has seen them battle promoted side Wolverhampton Wanderers for an all-time high of 7th this season. But how? Here, we take a look at how they’ve gone from an ordinary side, to a potential “force to be reckoned with”.

2015/16

In their first season back in the top flight under Quique  Sanchez Flores, their league form wasn’t great, having only mustered a win streak of four matches from late November, to late December. However, it wasn’t all bad as they did reach the FA Cup semi-final, with Odion Ighalo finishing as top scorer.

2016/17

The following season, it was all change as Walter Mazzarri became their manager. It wasn’t any better than the previous season, as they only managed three separate win streaks in September, the conclusion of January and the start of February, and early April. It was thanks to a Hull City side that were considerably worse than them that they managed to remain in the Premier League.

2017/18

Yet another managerial change happened, with Marco Silva coming in from relegated Hull City. The Hornets had a decent start to the season before it was alleged that Silva’s head was turned by another club ,and was mainly the reason for the sides downturn in form that saw them risking relegation. He was eventually sacked towards the end of January, and was replaced by Javi Gracia in the same month. Under Gracia, their form wasn’t better but did just about enough to stay up, including earning a memorable home win over Chelsea.

2018/19

Before the start of the season, they lost key player Richarlison to Everton, which prompted questions about whether they could stay up this season.

Despite, that their start to the season has been exceptionally good, racking up a win streak of four matches – their all-time best in the Premier League.

They are currently in the top 10, and are looking to beat both Wolves, and Everton to 7th securing European football, which would be an all-time best, and are FA Cup quarter-finalists again.

But how have they gone from being perennial strugglers to top 10 challengers? How has Javi Gracia changed the mentality of the side? The acquisition of Gerard Deulofeu seems to have the image of the club given that he’s come from Barcelona, rather than a Stoke City type of side. He has also maintained the role of Troy Deaney who is a fan favourite at Watford and he has been in fine form.

Gracia has seen the talent that Watford has, and has utilised them well. I like managers that come into the Premier League, and know that they can do better than the level the club is currently at. The likes of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City, and Nuno Espirito Santo have shown that. 

Back to Gracia, I like what’s he’s done with Watford such as looking at ways to improve, and bettering the squad. He’s given them the belief that the squad can aim higher than just doing enough to survive like in previous seasons. Can he keep it up though? We’ll have to find out…

If Watford do indeed finish 7th, the Spanish manager would surely have to be nominated for Manager of the Season, right?