Claudio Ranieri's future as Watford head coach is looking increasingly bleak this afternoon, following yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Norwich City.

The Italian was plucky in his post-match press conference, saying that a change of mentality was required rather than a change of head coach, as questions were asked of his future.

However, the Watford Observer understands that conversations over the Italian's position have taken place, with one source saying that a decision was still being considered this afternoon.

Elsewhere, reports in both the Mail and the Telegraph suggest that a successor is actively being sought, with the club keen to identify the right person to take over, should they pull the trigger.

Players have not been told either way whether or not Ranieri will be in charge when they return for training at the beginning of next week, but one dressing room source said they would not be surprised to see him relieved of his duties.

Another source close to the club's ownership also said they would now expect him to be removed.

The defeat to Norwich was the latest in a line of disappointing results, stretching back to the Hornets' last win in November, against Manchester United.

Encouraging performances against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea had bought Ranieri both time and good will with those above him at the club, with whom he has a good relationship, while postponements due to Covid-19 and losing valuable squad members to injuries and the African Cup of Nations also garnered him some sympathy.

However, his record of just two wins and 11 defeats from 14 matches has seen Watford slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season, and the style in which they dropped into the bottom three on Friday night was seen as genuine cause for concern by club chiefs, who are desperate to retain Premier League status this season.

And with a two week gap sitting between the Hornets and their next match, now could be seen as an advantageous moment to give someone new a bit of time to get to know their squad before taking charge of their first match, which would be another massive game, away against Burnley on February 5.

Should Ranieri manage to somehow survive this monumental setback, it is almost certain that the trip to Turf Moor would be the final chance.