Javi Gracia has broken his silence on his short time with Leeds United this season. The Spanish coach was officially fired on Wednesday after just a dozen matches at the helm. He managed to collect only three top-flight victories during his 10-week stay in West Yorkshire.

Head coach fired on his birthday

Speaking exclusively with The Athletic, Gracia revealed that he received the news about his sacking on his birthday. “It was my birthday, May 1,” said Gracia. “It was a phone call, It was a call to explain the situation, it was all handled correctly by the club. I have to accept the decision from the club’s owner and that’s it.”

Leeds sat 19th, firmly in the Premier League relegation zone, when Leeds hired the Spanish coach. Gracia did bring the club out of the drop zone, but it still couldn’t save his job. The Whites are now 17th in the top-flight table.

Gracia claims Adams injury was a huge loss for the club

When asked by the aforementioned publication what went wrong, Gracia named multiple issues. Player performances, lack of confidence, and injury setbacks were all mentioned. However, Gracia specifically picked out the unfortunate injury to USMNT star Tyler Adams. The midfielder last featured for the club on March 11th before picking up a hamstring issue in training.

“We had a squad that was hit by injuries that impacted the balance of a team that I wanted to make more solid and consistent. The injury to Tyler Adams did not help us because we don’t have so many players of this profile in central midfield,” stated Gracia.

“He is a player who really makes a difference when it comes to interceptions and recoveries and he really covers ground. It was a big blow to lose him for the season, but we also had injuries to Max Wober and the winger Luis Sinisterra. This took things away from our potential as a team.”

Sam Allardyce has now taken over at Leeds in an attempt to save their season. The veteran English manager will be in charge of the team’s final four matches of the campaign. He earns a whopping $3.75 million if the Whites avoid relegation. However, they must next face league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

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