watford boss valerien ismael

Opinion: Watford’s recent transformation vindicates club’s bold contract decision

Watford have recently undergone a transformation under manager Valerian Ismael, and it was much-needed after a dismal start.

Watford are six games without defeat, the most recent which being an emphatic 5-0 win over Rotherham United. In total, they have picked up 12 points in that run, moving them up to 13th place in the table.

As it stands, the Watford are just six points off the play-off places, which few would have expected not long ago. The Hornets started the season with just two wins in their first 10 league games but there has been a vast improvement since then.

Perhaps a reason for the improvement is that when Watford were struggling, the club backed the manager. Ismael was given a contract extension back in October, when the Hornets couldn’t buy a win.

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A change in approach

The contract extension was notable for a few reasons. Firstly, it showed that the club were convinced by Ismael’s progress as manager to give him a new deal. Secondly, it perhaps showed that for once, Watford were going to back a manager and stick with him.

The Vicarage Road club have been notorious for the short-term nature of their managerial appointments. Indeed, Ismael was the 19th manager appointed by the club in 11 years.

The Rob Edwards decision ending up coming back to sting, though it never seemed that Chris Wilder was going to stay beyond the end of last season. However, it is still significant that Ismael was given a new contract so early in his time at the club, as he was only appointed in May.

The recent run of good results show that the Watford board were right to stick with the manager, as he has turned the season around. Now, the goal will be to maintain the good run and reach the Championship play-offs.

If that happens, Ismael will surely buck the trend and keep his job as Watford manager for the foreseeable.

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