Javi Gracia's time at Watford has come to an end, following a start to the season that has left the Hornets precariously placed at the bottom of the league, but where did it all go wrong for the head coach?

After all, at the end of the last campaign Gracia's stock was rising, with the likes of Chelsea believed to have been interested in poaching the man who was seemingly flourishing at Vicarage Road

However, his relative successes may well have been papering over some cracks that ultimately would grow into irreparable damage, as far as the owners were concerned.

Gracia arrived at Watford without much in the way of ceremony and with few aware of his previous body of work, and it took a bit of time for him to convince the fans he was the right man for the job, despite a surprising 4-1 win over Chelsea in his third game in charge.

He took over in less than ideal circumstances, following Marco Silva's somewhat ignominious departure and while some say he steadied the ship, others may suggest the waters merely calmed around him.

Nevertheless, he had guided Watford to a 14th place finish with 41 points, but five wins from 14 league matches was not enough to suggest he would ever become a fan favourite.

Yet, the memories created during the subsequent season are some that will rank among the best for some Watford fans, as they enjoyed both their greatest ever Premier League campaign and a first FA Cup final for 35 years.

Tales of Gerard Deulofeu's semi-final double against Wolves will undoubtedly be told for years to come, while images of the Vicarage Road faithful raising both their flags and voices to support their team during a record-equalling cup final defeat, show that Gracia had at surface-level created a harmonious reationship between himself, the team and the supporters.

By this stage, however, the crest of Gracia's wave had already begun its descent, with league form stuttering to a halt and the potential for European football relinquished without much of a fight.

Following their FA Cup semi-final heroics, Gracia was only able to inspire his team to one league victory, over already-relegated Huddersfield Town, which was followed up with a draw against Southampton in which Watford conceded the quickest goal in Premier League history.

The Hornets then suffered three defeats in a row, during which nine goals were scored against them, as the possibility of a top-half finish slipped through their fingertips and questions about Gracia's ability to set up a strong defensive unit were starting to be asked.

Regardless, he remained popular at Vicarage Road, with the season considered a success and record Premier League points, wins and goals tallies all providing evidence to suggest he had truly achieved something special.

To be critical, one could suggest that he might have achieved more and that last season was actually a story of unfulfilled potential. Had Gracia avoided Watford's customary end-of-season downturn in form, there was cerainly more there to be gained.

However, the record books will show that he was at one stage the most successful Watford manager in the Premier League era.

What's more, he endeared himself to both the fans and the media through his professionalism and his positive attitude, which might have bought himself a bit more time with the owners, for whom he seemed a perfect fit.

He was happy to work within the Pozzo model, he got on with coaching the players and never kicked up much of a fuss in public or criticised anyone. A yellow card against Newcastle in his last game may have shown the mask slipping momentarily, but for the most part, he is someone whose respect for the game and others could rarely be called into question.

Some may say that was to his detriment and that he was in fact too respectful. One major criticism of Gracia came from the blind loyalty he showed to under-performing players, as well as an unwillingness to make requisite changes.

Against Newcastle, an audible groan could be heard from the travelling Watford fans when, with 20 minutes reamining on the clock, Gracia opted to introduce Isaac Success, a man whose last Premier League goal came in October 2018, while record signing Ismaila Sarr and new striker Danny Welbeck both remained on the bench.

In every one of his press conferences this season, Gracia spoke of a need for alterations and to try and find balance, but in the end, the owners decided that change needed to be made in the dugout and that a different perspective is required to build on what was laid during the last campaign.

As the Spaniard departs in sour circumstances, he will no doubt remain proud of what he achieved and will likely be remembered fondly by the Watford fans, who were still singing his name loudly during his last game at Vicarage Road.

If he ever returns to Watford, he will surely find no shortage of people offering to buy him a jug of sangria.