Soccer News: Watford sacked coach Xisco Munoz

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Watford sacked manager Xisco Munoz following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Leeds United.

The 41-year-old replaced Vladimir Ivic as Vicarage Road bench just 10 months ago and led the Hornets to promotion from the league last season.

Watford beat Aston Villa 3-2 in their first game in the top flight but have since taken only four points out of 18 possible and are 14th in the table.

Xisco becomes the first Premier League managerial layoff of the season, with Watford confirming the news on its official website on Sunday.

“The board believes that recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion is expected to improve visibly,” the club’s statement read.

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

“No further comment from the club will be available until the upcoming announcement of a new manager.”

Diego Llorente’s first-half goal proved the difference in Saturday’s clash between Leeds and Watford at Elland Road, leaving the Hornets four points behind the relegation zone.

Xisco starts with a 58% win rate in his 36 games in office in all competitions.

That includes a return of 18 wins and just five losses in 26 league games last season en route to second place behind Norwich City.

However, the Spaniard’s 69 percent win rate in the league last season dropped to 29 percent in the Premier League this season, with Watford triumphing in two of their first seven games.

Watford have the fifth lowest average possession in the Premier League in 2021-22 (43.29), while only Tottenham have a lower expected goal return (xG) than the Hornets’ 5.76.

The Hertfordshire side, who will face Liverpool in their next match on 16 October, have now hired and fired five different permanent coaches since Marco Silva’s departure in January 2018.

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