5 things you may not know about new Watford boss Javi Gracia

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Watford made their latest managerial change on Sunday, sacking Marco Silva and appointing Javi Gracia as his successor.

Gracia, the Hornets’ 10th manager since the Pozzo family’s takeover at the club in 2012, has signed an 18-month deal at Vicarage Road.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things you may not know about the Spaniard.

1. Achievements in Spain

While Gracia’s last job before this was a season-long spell in Russia with Rubin Kazan that ended last summer, he has spent most of his career in his homeland and enjoyed some notable successes there, particularly with Malaga. The 47-year-old’s two terms in charge at the Andalusian club saw them finish ninth and eighth in LaLiga in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. He had overseen Almeria’s promotion to the division in 2012-13, then failed to prevent Osasuna from being relegated a year later, before landing the Malaga job.

2. Troubling the big boys

?? The gaffer ?

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3. ‘Pure chloroform’

 Lionel Messi and Barcelona had trouble against Gracia's Malaga in 2014-15 (Mike Egerton/EMPICS).
Lionel Messi and Barcelona had trouble against Gracia’s Malaga in 2014-15 (Mike Egerton/EMPICS).

4. A tough time in Russia

Rubin Kazan came ninth in the Russian Premier League under Gracia and he admits he found it “very tough”. Speaking to Sky Sports earlier this season, he said of his tenure: “The culture and the character there is very different. Communication was difficult. I had 13 different nationalities and five translators so it was difficult to explain my plans on a daily basis. The weather was a very big problem too.” He also spent time away from Spain before taking the Almeria job in 2012, having brief stints in charge at Greek sides Olympiacos Volou and Kerkyra.

5. Playing career

Prior to becoming a manager, Pamplona-born Gracia was a defensive midfielder. Real Sociedad and Villarreal were among the clubs he represented in a playing career that concluded in 2004.

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