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Javi Gracia was sacked as Watford manager on Saturday following his poor start to the season

Watford made decision to sack manager Javi Gracia last week after club’s top brass called a meeting

  • Javi Gracia was sacked as Watford manager on Saturday following his poor start 
  • The Hornets announced Quique Sanchez Flores as his replacement soon after 
  • Gracia guided Watford to their highest finish in the Premier League last season
  • He also took the club to the FA Cup final where they lost to Manchester City 
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Javi Gracia’s fate was sealed on Thursday after Watford’s top brass called a meeting to axe the beleaguered Spaniard.

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Sportsmail revealed on August 31 that Gracia’s position as Watford boss was in serious threat following a poor start to the season – and news of his departure was confirmed on Saturday afternoon with former boss Quique Sanchez Flores installed as his replacement.

And Gracia’s sacking was virtually assured on Thursday when talks between leading members of the club’s hierarchy was called to take place on Saturday morning with a view to calling time on the 49-year-old’s tenure at Vicarage Road.

Javi Gracia was sacked as Watford manager on Saturday following his poor start to the season

Javi Gracia was sacked as Watford manager on Saturday following his poor start to the season 

But internal confirmation of Gracia’s exit and Flores’ arrival is believed to have been taken on Friday evening, meaning the meeting was ultimately cancelled.

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Nevertheless, while Watford staff were well aware that Gracia’s job was in serious jeopardy – news of the managerial changes still came as a shock on Saturday afternoon.

Gracia, who gave footballing staff the weekend off, took training as normal on Friday but showed no signs that it would be his final session in charge. The former Malaga boss maintained the backing of the squad, so much so that Gracia plans to meet members of his backroom team to say goodbye in the coming days.

Quique Sanchez Flores was named as Watford boss for a second time after Gracia's exit

Quique Sanchez Flores was named as Watford boss for a second time after Gracia's exit

Quique Sanchez Flores was named as Watford boss for a second time after Gracia’s exit

But ultimately there’s an acceptance that results weren’t good enough.

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Watford have lost nine out of their last 13 top-flight games, though that poor sequence was tempered by their run to the FA Cup final, where they eventually lost to Manchester City 6-0.

Members of the club’s top brass often visit the club’s HQ, but there is said to have been an unease about their current plight from chiefs in recent weeks culminating in Gracia’s exit.