Watford failed to ease their relegation fears in the wake of Nigel Pearson’s surprise sacking as they were hammered by a Raheem Sterling-inspired Manchester City.
Pearson became the Hornets’ third managerial casualty of the campaign on Monday, leaving Under-23 coach Hayden Mullins and his assistant Graham Stack in charge for their final two games.
And they could hardly have had a tougher first assignment than against City, who completed the double over them with this win, at an aggregate score of 12-0 – a joint Premier League record for one team against another in a single season.
Sterling took the game away from the home side before half-time, firing in a rising shot to open the scoring before doubling the advantage by following up his own saved penalty – awarded for a foul on him by Will Hughes.
Phil Foden added a third after Ben Foster had parried a Sterling shot before Aymeric Laporte nodded in from Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick.
It is second-placed City’s fourth successive league win.
Having won back-to-back games against Norwich and Newcastle, Watford have now lost two in a row and remain just a place and three points above the relegation zone.
A Villa victory over Arsenal later on Tuesday will mean the Hornets drop into the bottom three going into the season’s final day on Sunday, with their fate no longer in their own hands.