Media playback is not supported on this device Newcastle 2-0 Bournemouth: Rafa Benitez ‘surprised’ by Watford sacking
Watford have sacked boss Javi Gracia as Rafa Benitez prepares to make a last-ditch attempt to bring him to Newcastle.
The Hornets have suffered three straight defeats since suffering their first top-flight title in 47 years last season.
Head coach Gracia was sacked hours after his side lost 2-0 at newly-promoted Bournemouth.
“I had a meeting with the players before the game, and once the game had finished, I told everyone the news,” said vice-chairman Paul Kemsley.
Watford are bottom of the Premier League, following last week’s 1-0 defeat by Wolves and Tuesday’s 2-1 reverse at home to Huddersfield.
Gracia was appointed Watford boss in June 2017 after winning 20 and losing 12 of his previous 35 top-flight games in charge of Malaga.
He led the Hornets to the last eight of the Premier League last season, finishing third in the table, six points off winners Manchester City and Liverpool.
In May, Gracia’s contract was extended until 2021 following Watford’s promotion.
His departure comes a day after Benitez lost his brother Rafael to a fatal heart attack.
Sunderland are the only English club currently without a manager.