18 July 2024

Valerien Ismael finally regret why signing extended contract with Watford boss due to poor start to season…

Watford have handed head coach Valerien Ismael a contract extension despite slipping to 20th in the Championship after one win in the past eight games.


The 48-year-old took charge at Vicarage Road in May, becoming the Hornets’ eighth boss since the end of 2020.


“It’s true we haven’t achieved the points we would like yet,” said sporting director Cristiano Giaretta.


“But it’s the work and the progress we can see that gives us great confidence.”

Frenchman Ismael’s reign got off to a flying start with a 4-0 opening-day home win over QPR but four defeats in their past seven matches have left the Hornets just a point above the bottom three.


Since the Pozzo family took over Watford in 2012, there have been 21 managerial changes at Vicarage Road, including caretaker spells.


However, the Hornets board has responded to back-to-back defeats to Leeds and Middlesbrough by extending Ismael’s deal for an undisclosed “longer period of time” before Wednesday’s trip to Sunderland.


“The owner, the board and all of the senior management team have enjoyed getting to know and understanding Valerien and his methods,” Giaretta added to the club website.


“It’s like others have said this season; you can feel and sense that we are changing here and there is a positive atmosphere everywhere.


“We have told the first-team players and staff who have reacted positively, so now we all must focus on our work.”


Ismael led Barnsley to the Championship play-offs in 2021 but lasted just eight months in his subsequent appointment at West Bromwich Albion before leaving in February 2022.


Analysis – ‘A bold move by Watford’

Geoff Doyle, BBC Three Counties Radio sports editor


This has been on the cards for a few weeks now and appears to be a statement of intent from Watford.


The club’s hierarchy have been impressed with Ismael’s methods and ideas and how he has handled the players at the training ground.


It seems Ismael has had more input into player/transfer discussions and they like his disciplinarian approach with the squad.


Perhaps owner Gino Pozzo and the board have realised that to get stability at a club that has lacked it for so long (eight head coaches in the past three years) they need to send a message to the players that they will stick by the head coach through rocky moments this time round.


The responsibility will then fall on the players. This cultural shift at Vicarage Road might then turn stability into momentum.


It is a promising action from Watford and a very public backing for a head coach who has got off to a worse start to a season than Rob Edwards – who was fired by the Hornets a year ago.


Considering there is a small chance Watford could be in the relegation zone by Wednesday night it is also a bold move and the club will now have to back Ismael or face more ridicule.


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