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  • Writer's pictureThe Season Ticket

Marco Silva | Unsettled, unlucky, or both?

📝 | #watfordfc has parted company with Marco Silva. The Club will seek to make a swift appointment and there will be no further comment until that appointment has been made.More here ⤵ — Watford FC (@WatfordFC) January 21, 2018 Unsettled? Silva seemed confident of keeping his job in his post-match interview after Watford's 2-0  defeat to Leicester, but the club released a statement confirming his departure this morning. “This has been a difficult decision and one not taken lightly,”the statement read. “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 has been jeopardised. For the security and success of the football club, the board believes it has to make a change.” The unwanted approach, of course, came from Everton. The Toffees came knocking for Silva after just 12 games this season. Watford had made a strong start to the Premier League season, picking up 15 points (four wins and three draws) in their opening 11 league games. Silva made some shrewd acquisitions, including Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucouré, and produced some impressive results. Watford were fourth in October and fifth in November. Everton - on the other hand - made an alarming start to the season, which cost Ronald Koeman his job. The Merseyside club offered Watford £15 million for Silva's services, but the Hornets held firm. Rebuffed, Everton eventually turned to Sam Allardyce, and Silva stayed put. While Everton have turned their season around, things have stagnated at Vicarage Road since then. Watford have won three, drawn two, and lost eight of their 11 matches since Everton's approach, picking up four less points than in their 11 matches beforehand. The club claim that there was a deterioration in both focus and results following Everton's offer, and must have felt that Silva was no longer fully committed to the job. It seems that the incident led to a break-down in the relationship between Silva and the owners, and now the 40 year old has paid the price. Unlucky? It is entirely possible that Silva lost focus due to being unsettled, but the Portuguese native may just have been unlucky. Watford have admittedly been in poor form of late, but they have claimed just four points less in 11 games since Everton's approach than they did in the previous 11. They have faced both Manchester clubs, Spurs, Leicester and Burnley away in those 11 fixtures since the approach. The home defeats to Swansea and Huddersfield were very poor results, but from an outside perspective, the club isn't in crisis yet. Watford are 10th in the league and five points clear of the drop zone. The expectations at the club are unrealistically high, and have been since the Hornets' return to England's top flight. Quique Sanchez Flores guided the club to the Premier League, and finished 13th the following season, coupling a mid-table finish with an FA Cup semi-final. That wasn't enough, apparently. Flores was shown the door, and Walter Mazzarri replaced him. Watford finished in 17th place under the Italian, six points clear of the drop zone. Again, it was deemed unsatisfactory. Mazzarri was sacked, and so Silva got his chance. Realistically, Watford are a mid-table club, but owner Gino Pozzo does not seem to grasp that. Patience and consistency are required to push on to the next level, and Watford lack both. What now for Watford? Watford reportedly have Silva's replacement lined up already. Javier Gracia is set to take over at Vicarage Road. The 47 year old has previously managed Malaga and Rubin Kazan, and is highly rated from his time in Spain. He guided Malaga to back-to-back top half finishes in La Liga before joining Kazan, but he left Russia after a single season. However, he has never spent more than two years in any managerial role.
Javi Gracia will be the new manager of @WatfordFC. From Villarreal Academy to Watford via Greece, Osasuna, Malaga, Rubin Kazan... meticulous, strong personality, tactically savvy. He deserves this chance. He speaks English and has been working at it. — Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 21, 2018 According to Sky Sports, Gracia will be awarded funds to spend in this transfer window. His immediate task will be to halt the Hornets' slump, and to secure survival. As for Silva, he is likely to have plenty of suitors. Things have ended sourly for him at Watford, but he is an exciting and talented manager. Whether he pursues his career in England or abroad remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that we have heard the last of Marco Silva.
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