Watford's 9th coaching change in 6 years as Gracia is hired
LONDON (AP) Watford's rapid turnover of managers produced the ninth change in less than six years Sunday when Javi Gracia replaced Marco Silva following a downturn in form.
Watford has fallen to 10th place after winning only one of its last 11 games during a slump that started with Silva being pursued by Everton.
The Portuguese was denied the move to a better-resourced rival, even though Watford could have received around $15 million in compensation for a manager only hired in May.
The tables have been turned with Watford blaming "a significant deterioration in both focus and results" on the need to dismiss Silva.
Watford has been owned since 2012 by the restless Pozzo family. The Italian ownership also looked to Iberia for Silva's replacement, with Gracia hired on an 18-month contract. The 47-year-old Spaniard, who has been out of work since leaving Rubin Kazan in Russia in June, made a name for himself in the dugout in his homeland with Malaga.
Under the former defensive midfielder, Malaga became known for taking points off leading rivals after honing pragmatic tactics based on meticulous studying of opponents.
Watford trumpeted how Gracia secured a victory at reigning European and Spanish champion Barcelona in February 2015, and then went unbeaten against the Madrid rivals as Malaga finished eighth the following season.
Although Watford is midtable with 26 points from 24 matches, it is only four points above the relegation zone. Gracia's debut will be in the FA Cup on Saturday with a fourth-round match against Southampton.
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Updated January 21, 2018