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Sanchez Flores makes shock return to Watford helm after Gracia firing

Sanchez Flores makes shock return to Watford helm after Gracia firing

Quique Sanchez Flores was appointed as Watford’s new manager on Saturday, mere minutes after the club confirmed Javi Gracia’s dismissal.

Sanchez Flores previously served as Watford’s boss through the 2015-16 season, leading the Hornets to a midtable finish in the Premier League and to the semifinals of the FA Cup.

Watford started the league term with losses to Brighton & Hove Albion, Everton, and West Ham United before last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United to conclude Gracia’s time in charge.

Sanchez Flores now faces a daunting run of fixtures to begin his second spell in Hertfordshire, with trips to play Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Tottenham Hotspur, and visits from Arsenal and Sheffield United making up the club’s next six matches.

Aaron Chown – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Gracia’s firing may appear ruthless at first glance, but Watford’s poor form stretches back to last season. They are without a clean sheet in their last 19 league games, and have earned only 33 points from their last 32 top-flight outings.

Gracia was appointed to the Hornets’ helm in January 2018, making him the club’s first boss to last more than one full campaign since Gianfranco Zola in 2013.

“Javi has represented Watford with great dignity and will always be deserving of our fullest respect for his achievements,” Watford chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury said a statement.