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English Premiership

Mazzarri to step down as Watford manager

Walter Mazzarri becomes the third Watford manager in three years to leave the role despite preserving the club’s Premier League status © AFP/File / Glyn KIRK

WATFORD, United Kingdom, May 17 – Walter Mazzarri’s tenure as Watford manager has ended after just one season as the club said on Wednesday he would be leaving after Sunday’s final Premier League match against Manchester City.

The 55-year-old Italian — who replaced Quique Sanchez-Flores after he was fired at the end of last term — has endured a poor end of season although they put up a spirited performance in the 4-3 defeat by champions Chelsea on Monday.

Mazzarri becomes the third Watford manager in three years to leave the role despite preserving the club’s Premier League status.

Slavisa Jovanovic left in 2015 after gaining them promotion to the elite league whilst Flores departed despite guiding them to the FA Cup semi-finals and 13th place in the table.

“After the Board discussed with Walter Mazzarri the club’s future goals and aspirations, it was decided he will be stepping down from his position as the club’s Head Coach after the final game of the 2016/17 season,” read a statement from club chairman Scott Duxbury.

“We thank Walter and his staff for the contribution they have made to Watford Football Club over the past year.”

Mazzarri, who guided Napoli to the 2012 Copa Italia and also to the runners-up spot in the 2013 title race, guided ‘The Hornets’ to just 11 wins in 37 league games.

He was hampered by a sequence of injuries to key players but certain sections of the supporters never warmed to him — his lack of English was cited as a problem with the players — and he also clashed with Watford talisman Troy Deeney.

Both Mazzarri’s compatriot and 2016 title winner with Leicester Claudio Ranieri and up and coming Portuguese manager Marco Silva — whose spell at Hull impressed many despite their being relegated — have been names bandied around in recent weeks as the Italian’s position came under scrutiny.

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