Watford have sacked head coach Marco Silva after just 26 games in charge, the club has announced this morning.

Silva's position at the club became untenable after a run of eight defeats in 11 league games and a breakdown in relations between the head coach and the club's board.

The decision displays just how deep tensions ran behind the scenes at Watford, a club which has publicly prided itself on sticking by managers mid-season in recent years. The club say a new head coach will be appointed 'swiftly'.

Silva's final game in charge was yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, which left the club a potential three points above the relegation zone, pending the result of this afternoon's game between Spurs and Southampton.

As we reported prior to that game, Silva's relationship with owner Gino Pozzo was at an all-time low on the back of his comments over the vacant Everton job late last year, as well as turning frustration with Scott Duxbury and Filippo Giraldi over injuries and transfers into public spats.

The turning point in his short reign came when that Everton approach became public at the end of October, at which point the club were fourth in the table on the back of a glorious win over Arsenal.

And it is a point which Watford have emphasised in a statement on their website, which reads: "Had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under Silva's leadership.

"The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach, something which the board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford has been jeopardised."

Despite two wins over Newcastle and West Ham amid the speculation mounting, since the start of December the Hornets have had the worst points return in the Premier League, picking up just five from their last 10 games.

A new head coach could be in place by the time Watford travel to Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

But perhaps more pressingly, they will have only days to assess and reconfigure a Hornets squad already ravaged by injury, with 10 first-team players missing and the transfer window slamming shut in 10 days' time.