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Gracia 'surprised' by sudden dismissal follow 'the best season in Watford's history'

4:27 PM GMT 08/09/2019
Javi Gracia Watford
Gracia was sacked by the Hornets with the team bottom of the Premier League having failed to win any of their first four games of the season

Sacked Watford manager Javi Gracia said he was “surprised” by the sudden nature of his dismissal at Vicarage Road on Saturday as he thanked the club’s supporters. 

Gracia was sacked by the Hornets’ owner Gino Pozzo with the team bottom of the Premier League having failed to win any of their first four games of the season. 

He led the club to its best top-flight finish for 35 years last season as well as guiding Watford to the FA Cup final, but the team haven’t won since April and have only collected a single point so far this term. 

The club announced on Saturday that former boss Quique Sanchez Flores, who was dismissed after a single season in charge in 2016, will be Gracia’s replacement as the club look to climb the table.  

In a statement, Gracia said: "After the unexpected announcement about the termination of my contract after only four matches, I want to express my surprise after completing the best season in Watford's history.

"I respect this decision and I'd like to reassure that the excellent relationship I have with Gino Pozzo and Filippo Giraldi, and this is not going to change despite my abrupt exit of the club.

"I am grateful to this club for allowing me to manage this great club in the Premier League, it has been an incredible experience with very special moments like the FA Cup final I had the privilege to enjoy.

"I want to thank every single person who works for this club and has made my everyday very easy.

"My gratefulness and love for this club will be eternal. And finally, I want to thank the fans for supporting me the way they did from Day One, until my last.

"I will always wish the fans and these players the best."

Watford’s decision to sack the Spaniard came after they had handed him four-and-a-half year contract only last November. 

They had grown concerned at the prospect of being sucked into a relegation battle, following a run of just one win in 10 Premier League outings, and having taken just 39 points from the last 38 games.