Technical Director Ben Manga has categorically denied that Watford have held any discussions with Italian coach Francesco Farioli – or anyone else for that matter – about taking charge of the Hornets next season.

Various stories appeared last week that the club had met with the 34-year-old former Alanyaspor boss to talk about succeeding current head coach Chris Wilder.

In fact, the story rapidly progressed to the point where some outlets claimed Wilder would be replaced before the end of the current season, prompting Watford to release a statement making it clear he would be staying at Vicarage Road at least until his contract runs out after the final Championship game.

When I asked Manga about the stories of a meeting and discussions with Farioli, he sat back in his chair, shook his head and said simply: “No. Definitely no.”

The 49-year-old - appointed to the role at Watford just before Christmas after highly successful spells in Germany with Hoffenheim, Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt – is no stranger to machinations of the rumour mill given he has spent all his life either playing, coaching or scouting.

“It’s always the same,” he said.

“We have so many meetings where we talk about managers, players and everything to do with the club.

“In the world these days, everyone likes to talk a lot but the reality at the moment is that Chris Wilder is our manager. He has a contract and he has the support of all of us.

“In situations like this, you get calls from agents – we get many calls from agents trying to push their client in our direction.

“If we don’t give them an answer and instead say ‘ok, we’ll have a think about this’ they will then probably speak to journalists and try to say they have spoken with Watford and one of the candidates for their next manager will be their client. The reality is not the same.”

Manga gave a recent example of the media getting ahead of themselves when it comes to managers and their next job.

“Look at what happened with Julian Nagelsmann and Bayern Munich,” he said.

“He was sacked and within a day he had been linked to so many clubs in England. But he had never spoken with any of them.

“What happened last week was not a problem we created, it’s a problem created by journalists. They listen to what agents tell them. That’s not the way we operate.”

Of course, with Wilder only certain to be at the club for three more games, rumours about who might be in the Watford hot seat this summer are only going to intensify.

For Manga, though, anything seen or heard currently really is just the whirring of the rumour mill.

“At the moment, the focus is only on this season,” he said.

“We are only looking at doing the best in these last few games.

“Of course, I am watching games and I have some ideas, but it’s not like we have decided it will be Chris or it will be someone else.

“There are some general ideas, but these will be developed when we know where we are.

“My focus, right now, is only on this season.”

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