Marco Silva was back at Vicarage Road on Saturday for the first time since his acrimonious departure 13 months ago.
Andre Gray scored the only goal of the game after 65 minutes as Watford secured a 1-0 win over Silva’s Everton.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at how the Portuguese fared on his return to his former club.
Silva’s last match here was a 2-2 draw against Southampton on January 13, 2017. A little more than a week later, the Portuguese was shown the door. The final weeks of his tenure were overshadowed by suggestions he was trying to engineer a move to Everton, so, on his return to Watford, as manager of the Toffees, it was hardly surprising his welcome was not a warm one. A chorus of boos rang around the stadium when his name was announced before a variety of unsavoury chants dominated the opening minutes of the match. Indeed, ‘Javi Gracia is better than you’ was the only song that did not require a parental guidance sticker.
Silva made three changes to the side that lost against Manchester City, with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Cenk Tosun and Richarlison, the former Watford winger, installed to the starting XI. But, although they enjoyed the better of the opening period, Everton were guilty of failing to create enough clear-cut chances and were made to pay when Gray struck in the second half.
What they said
The outspoken Troy Deeney issued a not-so-thinly-veiled dig at Silva during a Watford fans’ forum earlier this week. “The people who work at Everton are fantastic,” he said, before adding: “Not the manager.” In his pre-match programme notes, however, the club captain was rather more diplomatic. “I guess [the return] has picked up extra momentum because of how Marco ended up leaving Watford and then him getting the job at Everton in the summer being no surprise at all,” Deeney said. “I know a lot of fans will want to give him a difficult welcome, but let’s be honest, it is all pantomime stuff.”
Silva not the only pantomime villain
Richarlison, another former Watford employer, was also given a torrid time by the home supporters. Silva made Richarlison one of his first signings this summer, but the Brazilian, who has scored 10 Premier League goals for the Goodison Park club, rarely threatened to haunt his old side. And on an afternoon to forget, he was substituted by Silva after Gray’s goal.