Watford have sacked boss Claudio Ranieri after 14 games and less than four months in charge.
The Italian, 70, was appointed on 4 October but managed only seven points from 13 Premier League games.
Last Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to Norwich saw Watford drop into the bottom three with 18 matches left and prompted Ranieri’s departure.
A club statement said a change was needed to give a new appointment time to lift Watford out of trouble.
Ranieri has failed to turn around the team’s fortunes since being appointed in October, with the Hornets dropping into the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.
A statement on their website read: “The Hornets’ Board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.
“However the Board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the Head Coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.”
The Italian was appointed Watford manager on October 4, 2021. The Hornets won just twice in that time and have slipped to 19th in England’s top tier.