Watford sack Nigel Pearson in midst of relegation battle

Manager guided them out of drop zone and into position of survival with two games to go

Watford have sacked manager Nigel Pearson. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Watford have sacked manager Nigel Pearson. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Nigel Pearson has been sacked as Watford manager, seven months after taking over the team at the bottom of the Premier League table and having guided them to the verge of an unlikely escape with two games to play.

Watford seemed destined for relegation when Pearson was appointed in December, with just eight points from 15 matches, but the manager brought about a quick improvement and a six-game unbeaten run over the festive period gave hope of survival.

Safety could have been all but assured against West Ham on Friday, but the defeat against their relegation rivals left Watford three points above the drop zone with two fixtures remaining, against Manchester City and Arsenal. Pearson has also overseen emphatic wins against Manchester United and Liverpool, the latter ending hope of an unbeaten season for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Pearson is the third permanent manager to depart the club this season, with Javi Gracia leaving in September and his replacement, Quique Sánchez Flores, sacked three months later.

Pearson’s assistant, Craig Shakespeare, will also leave the club. The two were informed of the decision on Sunday afternoon by the club’s technical director, Filippo Giraldi. Hayden Mullins, the club’s under-23 coach, will take charge of the final two games of the season, as he did after the sacking of Sánchez Flores. – Guardian

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