City's rivals axe coach

Xisco Munoz has left Watford 

Xisco Munoz has left Watford - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Watford have dismissed head coach Xisco Munoz after just seven games of the Premier League season - and two top flight matches after beating Norwich City at Carrow Road.

The club said in a statement on Sunday morning that recent results 'strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving'.

Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Leeds left the club in 14th spot, with seven points from a possible 21. Since beating Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the club's only other league victory came against the Canaries in a 3-1 success last month.

Munoz, who took charge at Vicarage Road last December, had successfully guided the club back to the top flight with a second-placed finish behind Daniel Farke's squad in the Championship last season.

Yet he has become the latest to pay the price for a downturn in form by joining a long list of managers whose tenure at the club has proved short-lived.

His departure means the Hornets are now looking for a 17th new manager in just over 10 years - and a seventh since Farke was installed at Carrow Road in 2017.

A club statement read: "Watford FC confirms Xisco Munoz has left his post as the club's head coach.

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"The board feels recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving.

"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."

Claudio Ranieri, who won the Premier League at Leicester City, is among the early front runners.

Former Valencia and Real Betis winger Munoz, 41, succeeded the sacked Vladimir Ivic when he left his role at Georgian club Dinamo Tbilisi.

The club had been fifth in the Championship at the time but were criticised by fans for their overly-defensive tactics.

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Munoz fulfilled his brief to guide the club back to the Premier League at the first time of asking but performances this term have been unimpressive.

Diego Llorente scored the only goal at Elland Road as Leeds claimed their first win of the season at their expense on Saturday.
After the game, Munoz admitted his side had failed to match Leeds' intensity.

"They won all the duels, they shoot more times than us and they wanted to win the game more than us," he said, quoted by PA.

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