Javi Gracia has expressed his surprise at his Watford dismissal, saying every indication from the club was that he would be there long term.

The Spaniard was sacked by Watford last week after 51 games in charge, having taken over the Hornets in January 2018.

His dismissal was met with surprise in some quarters, especially given he’d led the Hornets to the FA Cup final and 11th in the league.

The side started this season winless in their first four games of the season, conceding eight goals, though, and that led those in charge of the club to make a change, a decision that caught Gracia off guard.

“I did not expect it; I was surprised by the decision,” he told El Larguero.

“I met with the executives in the last week, and after getting two good results, I thought we would continue in the job.

“When I renewed my contract, they reassured me that the project was long-term.

“After those two games, I thought we were straightening the course a bit. I have no choice but to accept the decision of the owner.”

Watford moved quickly to replace Gracia, tying up a deal with his replacement Quique Sánchez Flores not long after his departure.

This will be Flores’ second stint in charge of the Hornets, having managed them for a season in the Premier League back in 2015.

Gracia bears no ill-will to his replacement or the quick manner in which the club replaced him, but says he had hoped to change Watford’s culture of high manager turnover.

“The announcement didn’t bother me especially,” he added.

“They might have waited to tie him up before sacking me. It is a club with a lot of change, Quique has already experienced it.

“I thought we might have been able to change that dynamic, but hey it hasn’t been like that.”