Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic sacked after four months

Vladimir Ivic only took charge of the Hornets in August following their relegation from the Premier League and has led them for just 20 Sky Bet Championship games - winning nine, drawing seven and losing four; Watford face Norwich live on Sky Sports Football on Boxing Day, kick-off 7.45pm

Vladimir Ivic
Image: Vladimir Ivic has led Watford for just 20 league games - winning nine, drawing seven and losing four

Watford have sacked head coach Vladimir Ivic after just four months in charge, with the club fifth in the Sky Bet Championship, four points behind the top two.

The 43-year-old Serb only took charge of the Hornets in August following their relegation from the Premier League and has led them for 20 league games - winning nine, drawing seven and losing four - picking up the manager of the month award for November.

However, following Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Huddersfield, the Vicarage Road hierarchy have decided it is time for another change with Ivic becoming the fourth Watford boss to face the sack since September 2019.

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Javi Gracia led Watford to the 2018/19 FA Cup final but since his dismissal they have gone through Quique Sanchez Flores, Nigel Pearson and now Ivic following Hayden Mullins' stint as caretaker boss near the end of last season, as they failed to avoid relegation.

Watford's next match is against promotion rivals and league leaders Norwich - live on Sky Sports Football on Boxing Day - and on January 9 they face Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup.

Huddersfield v Watford 1:38
Highlights of the Championship match between Huddersfield and Watford

"Watford FC confirms the departure of head coach Vladimir Ivic with immediate effect," read a statement on the club's website. "Ivic's coaching staff will also be leaving Vicarage Road.

"The Hornets thank Ivic and his staff for their efforts this season and wish them well for future success elsewhere."

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Ivic: Philosophies, Maccabi success and PL hopes

Prior to his dismissal on Saturday, Ivic sat down with Sky Sports to discuss his managerial philosophies, his success at Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv prior to joining the Hornets and promotion hopes for the season.

"In this job it's not a good idea to copy someone," Ivic said after winning the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award in November.

"You can follow a lot of coaches, especially in England, as some of the top coaches in the world are here in the Premier League and in the Championship.

Vladimir Ivic last coached Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv,
Image: Before arriving at Watford, Ivic had great success in Israel at Maccabi Tel Aviv

"It's always good to speak with people who are experienced and have been successful and who can give you advice, but you need to have your own style in how you work and how you get your team to understand how to improve and how you want them to play.

"My philosophy as a manager is to win games. It is about working day to day with my players, to speak with them and to find the best system I can to play and achieve victory in every game.

"It can be a 5-3-2, a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3. Sometimes it depends on who is available to play. My favourite system is the one you can use to get the best from your squad."

Before arriving at Watford, Ivic had great success in Israel at Maccabi Tel Aviv, winning the Israeli Premier League in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020 - ending a run of three seasons without the title for the most decorated club in the country. Before his arrival there, he had also won the Greek Cup with PAOK in 2017 in his first senior management role.

Image: Watford are fifth in the Championship after 20 games

"It was a great time [at Maccabi]" he said. "It was my first time moving to a new country to work [as a manager]. They are the biggest club in Israel but had gone three years without winning the league before I came in, which was hard for the club and the fans.

"There were also problems with Financial Fair Play when I arrived so we co we had to work on a very small budget, and we used a lot of young players who had been on loan at other clubs in Israel.

"But the two years we had there were very successful and we won trophies. We didn't succeed in the Europa League as I would have liked, but it was a great period and I will always remember those two years."

What of the targets he set for the season? Naturally, there was only one.

"We have a lot of players who were relegated from the Premier League, and now they have a very good chance to show that we are a team with quality who want to fight, to give their maximum and to show we want to come back," he added.

"We know our targets and what we want to do, and that is return to the Premier League. It won't be easy, it's a tough competition with a lot of games and a lot of good teams. It's about our mentality, being ready physically and to go game by game."

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