Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Watford after just over three months in charge, with the club lying 19th in the Premier League.
In a statement confirming Ranieri’s departure on Monday evening, Watford said: “The Hornets’ board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.
“However, the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.
Ranieri has failed to turn around the team’s fortunes since being appointed in October, with the Hornets dropping into the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.
Watford are without a win in nine games in all competitions (D1 L8), their longest run without a victory since December 2013 (10).
Norwich enjoyed their biggest margin of victory in a Premier League match since beating West Brom 4-0 in May 2013, and their biggest away from home in the division since September 1993, a 5-1 win at Everton.
Watford have now gone 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet (since a 3-0 win v Liverpool in February 2020), with only West Brom enduring a longer such run in the history of the competition (34 in 2011; Blackburn in 2012 and Wolves in 2012 both also on 30).
Since the start of 2016-17, only Arsenal (19) have picked up more Premier League red cards than Watford (18).
Under Ranieri, Watford have lost seven of their last eight league matches. Their most recent victory was the 4-1 defeat of Manchester United in November at Vicarage Road.
Ranieri replaced Xisco Munoz, who took charge of Watford’s first seven Premier League matches during this campaign, winning two and losing four. Munoz had overseen the Hornets’ promotion to the top flight last season.
Ranieri’s first match in charge was the 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool at home on October 16, but he recorded his first win in his next game – a 5-2 victory at Everton.
But the 4-1 win over United proved to be Ranieri’s second and final victory as Watford manager. He lost 11 of his 14 matches in charge.
Ranieri’s departure means Watford have now sacked five head coaches since the exit of Javi Gracia in September 2019.
Quique Sanchez Flores, Nigel Pearson, Vladimir Ivic, Munoz and Ranieri have all left the club during that 28-month period, while Hayden Mullins has also had two spells as caretaker in that time.
The Pozzo family are now searching for their 15th permanent manager since completing their takeover of Watford in June 2012.
Ranieri’s exit is also the eight managerial change in the league this season following the departures of Xisco, Steve Bruce (Newcastle), Nuno Espirito Santo (Spurs), Daniel Farke (Norwich), Aston Villa (Dean Smith), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United) and Rafael Benitez (Everton).