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Gianfranco Zola resigns as Watford manager

Gianfranco Zola has resigned from his position as Watford manager with immediate effect.

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Gianfranco Zola has resigned from Watford with immediate effect.

The Italian steps down leaving the club in 13th place in the Championship, eight points off the playoff places and fifteen from the automatic promotion spots.

Watford revealed the news on their official website, stating: "It is with great sadness that the Board of Watford Football Club has accepted the resignation of Head Coach Gianfranco Zola.

"Watford FC wishes to place on record its sincere gratitude to Gianfranco for his achievements at Vicarage Road, and for always acting with the utmost dignity and grace."

"The Board fully respects his decision and Gianfranco will be welcome at Watford Football Club at any time in the future."

Zola also issued an open letter to Watford supporters, where he stated: "This decision has not been made quickly. I mentioned after the game on Saturday that I wanted to think about things overnight and that is exactly what I have done.

"I feel that it is in the best interests of the team that somebody new is given the chance to bring the success which we have all hoped for and worked very hard for."

Zola was appointed in the wake of the takeover of the club by the Pozzo family, who also own Udinese and Granada. A dramatic finale to the Championship season last year saw Watford miss out on automatic promotion to Hull City on the final day. More drama followed as a last-minute goal won a playoff semi-final with Leicester, but Crystal Palace prevailed in the final to leave Watford facing another campaign at Championship level.

With many players loaned from Watford and Granada, the club had improved but despite several new acquisitions, the club have struggled to mount a challenge for promotion this season so far.