McKinlay surprised at sudden end of brief Watford spell

Billy McKinlay admits he was surprised to be named Watford manager, and even more so when he was replaced after eight days.

The 45-year-old was placed in charge of the Hornets at the end of September, when Oscar Garcia was forced to step down after ill-health. His appointment to the post meant he came the club’s third manager of the season already, after Italian Beppe Sannino quit to return to his homeland with Serie B side Catania.

McKinlay’s first game in charge was a 2-1 win over Brentford, and he followed this up with a 1-1 draw last weekend. These four points ensured Watford headed into the current international break in a healthy state, as they currently stand third in the table with the same number of points as the two teams above them.

So when the former Scotland international was replaced by Slavisa Jokanovic, it was something of a surprise. Speaking about this decision, McKinlay told Sky Sports on Monday afternoon: “I was disappointed. I was surprised to be appointed in the first place, but for it to only last as short as it did was a surprise to say the least.”

To compound McKinlay’s woe, he quit his job as assistant manager to Michael O’Neill with the Northern Ireland national side to take the Hornets post. He has revealed that he would be interested in returning to his role as they look to secure qualification for Euro 2016, but he faces a waiting game as the head coach will take stock following the current set of fixtures.

“That’s something that’s really not for now,” said O’Neill last week. “That’s something we can address down the line. I’m very disappointed for him, and really I think Watford have to look at themselves. Billy’s not done anything untoward there – he went in in difficult circumstances, got a win and a draw and suddenly finds himself out of work again which is very poor.

“There’s a human aspect to football as well and I think the owners, technical directors and chief executives need to consider that when they’re playing with people’s lives in this way. I’m very disappointed for Billy, but this week we’ve not really been affected too much because Jim Magilton and Stephen Robinson have stepped in and done an excellent job.”

Should Watford be embarrassed at how they have handled their managerial situation, or is just one of those things? Let us know what you think below.

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