Watford set to appoint Hodgson after Ranieri exit

Watford are close to appointing Roy Hodgson as their new head coach after sacking Claudio Ranieri on Monday

A deal for the former Liverpool, England and Crystal Palace boss is thought to be imminent, and he could begin work as early as Tuesday.

Hodgson has been out of work since leaving Palace at the end of last season.

Ranieri was dismissed after just over three months in charge, with Watford lying 19th in the Premier League.

Ranieri had 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.

Asked about his future after the loss to the Canaries, the former Leicester and Chelsea manager said: „I don’t go away. I want to continue because I am a fighter. I’ve never given up in my career.“

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Match highlights: Norwich out of bottom three with Watford win

Under Ranieri, Watford 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.

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.

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„No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course.“

No wins, no clean sheets, no discipline – Watford struggles

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).

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.

Watford head coach exits since Pozzo family’s takeover in June 2012

  • Sean Dyche – June 2011 to July 2012
  • Gianfranco Zola – July 2012 to December 2013
  • Giuseppe Sannino – December 2013 to August 2014
  • Oscar Garcia – September 2014 to September 2014
  • Billy McKinlay – September 2014 to October 2014
  • Slavisa Jokanovic – October 2014 to June 2015
  • Quique Sanchez Flores – June 2015 to May 2016
  • Walter Mazzarri – July 2016 to May 2017
  • Marco Silva – May 2017 to January 2018
  • Javi Gracia – January 2018 to September 2019
  • Quique Sanchez Flores – September 2019 to December 2019
  • Nigel Pearson – December 2019 to July 2020
  • Vladimir Ivic – August 2020 to December 2020
  • Xisco Munoz – December 2020 to October 2021
  • Claudio Ranieri – October 2021 to January 2022
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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.

If appointed, Hodgson will become the Pozzo family’s 15th permanent manager since they completed their takeover of Watford in June 2012.

What’s next?

Watford travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley on Saturday, February 5 at 6pm in their re-arranged fixture.

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