Xisco Munoz: Watford sacking was 'neither expected nor wished for'

Xisco Munoz sends messages on pitch to his Watford players
Xisco Munoz was appointed manager at Watford in December

Xisco Munoz says his time as Watford boss ended in a way he "neither expected nor wished for" following his sacking after 10 months in the job.

The Spaniard, 41, helped win promotion to the Premier League last season after joining in December 2020.

Watford are 14th with seven points from seven games and Xisco's last match in charge was Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Leeds United.

Watford said "recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend".

"It's been a wonderful journey and it concluded in a way that I neither expected nor wished for," Xisco said in a statement on social media.external-link

"I'm grateful and I will only remember all the good things I have experienced."

He added: "It's a sad day for me and my family because it marks the end of a period at a club and in a city where we have felt at home.

"I've got nothing but words of gratitude for the club that gave me the opportunity to start my first adventure in this exciting country."

Xisco joined the club from Georgian top-flight side Dinamo Tbilisi.

He is the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season, and the 13th change of boss since the Pozzo family took over as Watford owners in 2012.

Italian Claudio Ranieri, who led Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016, is the bookmakers' early favourite to take over. The former Chelsea and Fulham boss left Sampdoria in the summer.

"The board feels recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving," the club said in a statement earlier on Sunday.

"The Hornets will always be grateful to Xisco for the part he played in securing last season's promotion and wish him well for his future career in football.

"No further club comment will be available until the imminent announcement of a new head coach."

Munoz disappointed by Watford performance in Leeds defeat

Watford had started their first season back in the top flight well with a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa.

The club also knocked Crystal Palace out of the Carabao Cup in the second round.

However, they have managed only one more league win and were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Stoke in September.

Watford will next play after the international break, a league match against Liverpool on 16 October.

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