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Watford sack manager Silva, blame rival club's approach

British media reported that Everton had targeted Silva in their quest to replace Dutchman Ronald Koeman before they appointed former England manager Sam Allardyce in November.

Marco Silva. Picture: @WatfordFC.

LONDON - Watford sacked manager Marco Silva on Sunday after a poor run of results and blamed a rival Premier League club’s “unwarranted approach” to sign the Portuguese earlier this season as the catalyst for the decision.

British media reported that Everton had targeted Silva in their quest to replace Dutchman Ronald Koeman before they appointed former England manager Sam Allardyce in November.

Spaniard Javi Gracia, formerly of Malaga and Russian club Rubin Kazan was named by local media as the man set to replace him.

“This has been a difficult decision and one not taken lightly,” Watford said in a statement on their website (www.watfordfc.com).

”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 FC has been jeopardised.”

Silva, 40, joined Watford from Hull City on a two-year deal in the close season and took them to fourth in the table after eight matches. Watford have since struggled for consistency, winning just once in the past 11 league games.

Watford, who are 10th in the table after 24 matches, were beaten 2-0 by Leicester City on Saturday, their third league defeat in four games.

The club said they would appoint Silva’s successor shortly. Javi Gracia was reported by British media to have agreed a two-year deal to take over, which would be announced on Monday.

The 47-year-old Spaniard, who played for a number of La Liga clubs including Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal, has been a manager in Spain, Greece and Russia.

From Malaga he moved to Rubin Kazan for the 2016-17 season but left after they finished only ninth in the Russian League.

That meant he had never stayed longer than two years at any of his nine coaching jobs.

The new man will be Watford’s 10th manager since the Pozzo family took over the club only six years ago.

They visit Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup next Saturday and Stoke City in the Premier League on Jan.31.

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