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New Leeds boss Gracia relishing second shot at Premier League

New Leeds manager Javi Gracia says he has unfinished business in the Premier League after taking on a relegation fight at Elland Road.

The 52-year-old, sacked by Watford soon after leading them to top-flight safety and the 2019 FA Cup final, has signed a “flexible” contract to succeed Jesse Marsch, whom Leeds sacked earlier this month.

Gracia, who has also had managerial spells at Malaga, Valencia and Qatari side Al Sadd, was introduced to the media after Leeds confirmed he had received his working visa earlier on Friday.

“When I finished at Watford, I didn’t know if I’d have another experience in the Premier League. I had the chance in Spain with Valencia, then to Qatar with different experiences of life and working,” said the Spaniard.

“When this experience appeared I didn’t have any doubt. It was what I was waiting for. I was waiting for something in the Premier League and it’s something I’m excited for.”

Gracia will take charge of his first game at Elland Road on Saturday when 19th-placed Leeds bid to climb out of the relegation zone with victory over bottom club Southampton.

He said the club’s hierarchy had made clear that his priority would be steering Leeds away from relegation and that he was happy with the “flexible” nature of his contract.

“You know our situation (as a head coach),” he said. “You can stay one game or stay your life.

“When I accepted the challenge it was because I want to stay here and achieve the objective. I don’t want to be here to stay because I have a contract.”

Leeds, two points from safety, are without a win in their past 10 league matches and are mired in a second successive relegation battle.

The club, who won the English top flight in 1992, were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 and did not return until 2020.

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