After hanging up his boots at Cordoba in 2004, Javi Gracia kick-started his coaching career with the youth teams of Villarreal. In 2007 he accepted his first managerial position with Pontevedra in Segunda Division B, the third tier of Spanish football. In 2008 he was appointed manager of Cadiz where he achieved promotion in his first season. He subsequently coached Villarreal B, before enjoying spells working in Greece with Olympiacos Volou and Kerkyra.
Returning to Spain, he guided Almeria back to the top flight in 2013 before moving to Osasuna. In 2014 Gracia was appointed as manager of Malaga, where in his first season in charge he held eventual champions Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at La Rosaleda before a famous 1-0 win at the Nou Camp. The following season Malaga twice held Real Madrid to a draw. During his tenure, despite limited resources, Gracia led his team to consecutive top 10 finishes in La Liga
Following a year in Russia managing Rubin Kazan, in January 2018 Gracia was appointed manager of Premier League side Watford. During his first full season he successfully retained Watford’s Premier League status through a mid-table finish whilst leading the club to the FA Cup final for the first time in 35 years, and for only the second time in Watford’s history.