Watford captain Troy Deeney says the decision to let head coach Quique Sanchez Flores leave the club is “crazy” and believes the Spaniard’s stint at Vicarage Road was a success.
The former Atletico Madrid boss paid the price for a miserable second half to the campaign but Watford still finished 13th in the Barclays Premier League – their highest top-flight placing in 29 years.
The Hornets, promoted from the Sky Bet Championship last season, also reached the FA Cup semi-finals in Flores’ first season in charge yet the home supporters voiced little dissent in the final game of the season on Sunday.
The 2-2 draw against Sunderland, who only secured their Premier League status last week, did see Watford fans roundly applaud their outgoing head coach as he performed a lap of honour after the full-time whistle.
“His time here has been a success,” Deeney told Sky Sports.
“He’s brought me on a lot as a player and a person. I have nothing but gratitude. We’ve had 16 new players and he’s made it seem effortless.
“Sunderland have been in the bottom three and managed to stay up, and Sam Allardyce is being hailed as a great manager, which he is, for keeping them up.
“But we’ve seemingly coasted through this season, never really flirted with relegation, and our gaffer’s been sacked. It’s one of those crazy ones.”
Watford effectively secured survival long ago but Sunday’s draw was only the eighth point they have taken from the last 30 available.
Flores’ side have also managed only four wins since Christmas – against Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and West Brom – and Deeney admits the team may have lost focus.
“It’s been very difficult to drive forward with that same focus at some times,” Deeney said.
“Maybe we’ve left some 50/50 tackles out there in recent games whereas we were winning the 30/70 tackles against us at the start of the season.
“This is human nature and it doesn’t take away from the achievements of the club.”