Watford announce Bilic assistants - and perform u-turn on Giaretta
Written by Simon Austin — October 2, 2022
SLAVEN BILIC has brought his long-time assistants Dean Racunica and Danilo Butorovic with him to Watford.
The 54-year-old Croatian was appointed Head Coach of the Hornets last week and, as expected, has brought his two compatriots with him. Racunica was a creative midfielder for Hajduk Split, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Austria Salzburg during an 18-year playing career.
He was Bilic’s assistant at Hajduk Split, Al-Ittihad, West Brom and Beijing Guoan and does opposition scouting and analysis as well as coaching.
Butorovic was a manager in his own right, for HNK Orijent 1919 in Croatia, before linking up with Bilic at Al-Ittihad, West Brom and Beijing Guoan. He too has a strong background in analysis as well as coaching.
Meanwhile, Sporting Director Cristiano Giaretta has remained in post, just two weeks after we - and several other outlets - reported that he had left the club.
Watford's staff had been informed of the Italian's departure, with former Head Coach Rob Edwards meeting with both them, and the players, to explain what the new structure at the club would be and how his own role would be enhanced within it.
Giaretta was not at Vicarage Road for Watford’s game against Sunderland on September 17th, but did appear at the training ground the following week, much to the surprise of staff and players.
It now turns out that owner Gino Pozzo had reassessed the situation at the club during the international break, leading to the sacking of Edwards and his assistant Richie Kyle and the retention of Giaretta.
The sacking of Edwards went against what Chairman Scott Duxbury had said in the summer, when the Head Coach was hired from Forest Green.
“What we needed was continuity behind a coach that we believe in and the supporters believe in," Duxbury said. "We also wanted somebody who could grow with us.
“There are many examples of successful clubs who appoint a young British coach who is then supported as he and the club grow and become successful. That’s the change we have made and it’s what Rob will give us.
"It will solve communication, it will solve identity, he will become the face of the club and the custodian of the values that Watford Football Club is all about. Gino Pozzo wants the club to be successful and playing sustained Premier League football.
"That’s always been his only ambition for Watford. I am on exactly the same page. However, he accepts that the way we try and work to deliver that had to change. We know that we could not carry on as we were. Watford Football Club needed its culture back.
“In Rob Edwards, we have appointed a manager we all totally believe in, and a manager who will lead and drive that change. We will be supporting Rob Edwards come hell or high water. We believe that he will deliver what we all want – sustained and successful Premier League football.”
Meanwhile, Cristian Fernandez has joined the Hornets as rehab fitness coach. The Spaniard worked for Newcastle United for five years before a four-month stint under Rafa Benitez at Everton.