Watford secure promotion back to the Premier League at first time of asking

24 April 2021 06:59

Watford have achieved promotion back to the Premier League after Ismaila Sarr's first-half penalty clinched a 1-0 win over Millwall on Saturday and subsequently secured their place in the Championship's top two.

The Hornets suffered the heartache of relegation from the top flight last season after a host of mid-season managerial changes seemed to hamper their bid for survival.

Having managed to keep hold of some of their top players in the summer - despite the mooted interest of Premier League clubs in players like Sarr and Troy Deeney - many had tipped them to make a swift return to England's top table.

However, nothing is assured in the Championship and a run of just three wins in nine outings heading into the hectic Christmas fixture schedule saw Vladimir Ivic relieved of his duties just four months after his arrival at Vicarage Road.

Former Valencia midfielder Xisco was swiftly appointed as Ivic's successor - a bold move given the Spaniard's lack of experience in both England and the managerial game in general.

The rookie boss had an immediate impact at the club as they managed to string together a number of impressive winning runs, and the win over Gary Rowett's men on Saturday confirmed their status as a Premier League club for next season.

Troy Deeney will be a Premier League player again next year if he stays with Watford | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

With automatic promotion now in the bag, the Hornets' attention will turn to catching Norwich in the race for the Championship crown.

Daniel Farke's men had looked nailed on to finish top of the second tier earlier in the season, though just three wins from their last seven outings have seen their lead at the top cut to five points.

With just two games of the regular season remaining it looks highly unlikely that the Hornets will be able to catch the league leaders, though anything is possible in England's second tier.

Source: 90min