Football: Watford name Spaniard Gracia as new manager

Watford manager Marco Silva at the Watford vs Southampton match at Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain on Jan 13, 2018.
Watford manager Marco Silva at the Watford vs Southampton match at Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain on Jan 13, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

WATFORD (AFP) - Premier League club Watford appointed former Malaga coach Javi Gracia as their new manager on Sunday (Jan 21), just hours after sacking Portuguese Marco Silva.

Watford, who sit 10th in England's top flight, announced that the 47-year-old Spaniard had signed on an 18-month contract, becoming the club's 10th manager since 2012.

"It's a special atmosphere and I'm very happy to feel this experience and to say thanks to them because I know they (Watford fans) are the number one," Gracia said in a video posted by Watford on Twitter.

"After the supporters will come the rest of the players, but they (the fans) are the number one." Earlier on Sunday, the Hornets had dismissed Silva, saying that an "unwarranted approach" for the former Malaga boss from Everton earlier this season was "the catalyst" for the decision.

Ex-Villarreal midfielder Gracia impressed as a coach when leading Almeria to promotion to Spain's La Liga in 2013, before taking over at Malaga after a short stint with Osasuna.

He helped Malaga to consecutive top-10 finishes, featuring a famous win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou in his first season, but left in 2016 for an ill-fated spell at Russian club Rubin Kazan.