A “frank exchange of views” between Nigel Pearson and Watford owner Gino Pozzo after Friday’s defeat to West Ham was the catalyst that led to the head coach’s sacking.
Concerns over team selection, substitutions and the team’s performances since the Premier League returned to action had already eaten away at relations between Pearson and Pozzo, along with his technical director Filippo Giraldi.
It is understood Pearson still maintained support among a group of players in the Watford dressing room.
However, despite breathing life into Watford’s troubled season – they were bottom of the league, with just one win from 15 games when he arrived – some players were less supportive
The owners held serious reservations in particular about their team’s first-half performances, with Watford failing to score the first goal in all seven games since lockdown.
However, Sunday morning’s conversation between head coach and owner appears to have accelerated plans for Pearson and his number two, Craig Shakespeare, to leave the club at the end of the season when their contracts run out.
Watford, who are three points clear of the relegation places, are in no rush to find a new permanent successor to Pearson, who was their third boss of the campaign following on from Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores.
Hayden Mullins and Graham Stack will take charge of Watford’s final two games.
The club will take a more considered view after the final two games when they know which league they will be competing in.
Watford are one place and three points above the relegation zone with two games left to play.
They will host Manchester City on Tuesday, and then visit Arsenal on Sunday, needing four points to be guaranteed a place in the Premier League next season, although a lesser haul may suffice depending on other results.
Pearson posted a message on Twitter saying how thankful he was for all the support he has received since his dismissal.
He said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by well-wishes I have received from Watford supporters and the football community.
“Although not able to finish the task, I wish Watford all the best in the final two games