Soccer-Leeds name ex-Watford boss Javi Gracia as manager
(Reuters) - Leeds United have agreed terms to appoint former Valencia and Watford head coach Javi Gracia as their new manager on a 'flexible contract' to replace Jesse Marsch, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
American Marsch was sacked on Feb. 6 after a poor run of form left the club in a relegation battle.
Leeds are 19th in the standings with 19 points from 23 games and face bottom club Southampton on Saturday.
"Leeds United are delighted to announce the club have agreed terms with Javi Gracia to become men's first team head coach, subject to obtaining a work permit," a club statement read.
Spaniard Gracia, 52, managed Watford for a 20-month spell between January 2018 and September 2019. He led them to an 11th-placed finish and the FA Cup final but was dismissed just four league games into the following season after a poor start.
Gracia has also managed Malaga in Spain's LaLiga and Rubin Kazan in Russia. His most recent role was with Al Sadd in Qatar, where he won the league before being sacked last June.
Leeds under-21 manager Michael Skubala has been in interim charge since Marsch was sacked after a 1-0 loss at Nottingham Forest left the club one place above the relegation zone.
They have since dropped into the bottom three and are two points from the safety zone, after a draw at Manchester United and then successive defeats by United and Everton.
Leeds said they hoped Gracia's first game in charge will be Saturday's crucial Premier League relegation clash against bottom club Southampton.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru aned Martyn Herman in London)