Leeds Utd board now debating Javi Gracia sack as Radrizzani acts after vote of no confidence

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Javi Gracia, Leeds United, February 2023 Credit: Alamy
Javi Gracia, Leeds United, February 2023 Credit: Alamy

Leeds United could sack Javi Gracia as head coach less than three months after giving him the job, reports are claiming.

Gracia was appointed by Leeds on February 21, taking the reins from caretaker boss Michael Skubala – who in turn had replaced Jesse Marsch after the American’s own sacking earlier that month.

Leeds won Gracia’s first game in charge, against fellow relegation candidates Southampton, on February 25. However, the uplift in fortunes did not last long at all.

In the following game, Leeds were knocked out of the FA Cup. Since then, they have only won two out of 10 Premier League matches and are currently on a five-game winless run.

Since their last win, against Nottingham Forest on April 4, they have lost 5-1 and 6-1 at home to Crystal Palace and Liverpool respectively, and 2-1 and 4-1 away at Fulham and Bournemouth either side of a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

Bitter feelings have been growing within the club. On Sunday, the Leeds United Supporters Advisory Board released a statement indicating a ‘lack of faith in the current management team at the club’, taking aim at Andrea Radrizzani’s ownership group and Gracia.

Now, sources such as the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail are reporting that Radrizzani is considering giving Gracia the sack.

Skubala set to replace Javi Gracia for second caretaker spell

Talks are supposedly ongoing between board members about whether to make their second managerial dismissal of 2023.

The Spanish tactician only ever signed a short-term, flexible contract with Leeds. However, he might not have envisaged it ending this quickly. Gracia has only been in charge of Leeds for 12 matches.

Four games remain in their season – away to Manchester City, at home to Newcastle, away to West Ham and at home to Tottenham – in which they will have to fight to secure Premier League survival.

Leeds are currently 16th in the Premier League table, outside the relegation zone by just one point before Monday’s match between 18th-placed Leicester and 19th-placed Everton.

If Gracia is given the sack, both the Telegraph and the Mail indicate that previous caretaker manager Skubala could resume those duties.

Skubala’s first spell in caretaker charge produced a draw at Man Utd – a game in which they had a two-goal lead – a loss at home to the same rival and an away defeat against Everton.

Alternatively, the Mail implies that Leeds could bring in another experienced guide from elsewhere on a short-term basis. No potential candidates of that nature are mentioned.

One option that has been shared, though, is ex-Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer, who has had spells in charge of Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City.

Furthermore, who inherits the permanent managerial role afterwards remains to be seen. But it appears that ex-Watford boss Gracia’s second spell in English football could be reaching a premature conclusion.

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