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John Barnes criticises Watford's Flores sacking

Former Watford wide-man John Barnes has condemned the club's decision to part company with Quique Sanchez Flores

Former Watford winger John Barnes has condemned the decision by the Pozzo family to cut ties with Quique Sanchez Flores.

The England icon, speaking in an interview with Gazetta World, also said that the club may now have to face a relegation scrap next season.

Watford announced that Flores would be leaving the club last week, despite leading the hornets comfortably to safety by securing a 13th place finish.

He also took Watford to an FA Cup semi-final – their first since 2007 - however they were beaten by Crystal Palace.

And Barnes, who made over 200 appearances for the Hornets during the 1980s, believes the club have made the wrong call by getting rid of Flores, pointing out that it is more important that the club secure their Premier League status before pushing on for further success.

“When you’re a club like Watford and others, Portsmouth and teams like that – look where they are now and they had ambitions to push on,” Barnes said.

“You don’t push on after one season. A club like Swansea who’ve been in the Premier League for maybe four or five years or Stoke, then you can say ‘Now that we’ve cemented our position in the Premier League, we can now look to be more ambitious’.

“You can’t come up, be relegation favourites and because you stayed up, then say ‘Let’s look to push on’. You have to consolidate, regularly finishing in the next four or five years in mid-table – then you can look to push on.

“From next season, the name of the game for Watford is fourth from bottom.”

Watford’s decision to part company with Flores came following a poor 2016, which has seen the club win only three matches since the turn of the year.

And despite their remarkable cup run, one that saw the Hornets knock out FA Cup holders Arsenal, the trigger happy Pozzo family decided it appropriate not to renew the Spaniards contract.

Indeed, Watford’s club statement read that the decision was taken despite the fact that Flores had met the targets set for him by the club.

And the decision has been met with derision in many quarters, with Slaven Bilic labelling it as ‘sick’.

The club’s owners, who also control Granada in La Liga and Udinese in Serie A, are not afraid to hit the eject button, with Flores becoming the seventh manager they have disposed of since arriving in English football.

But Flores will know that there are plenty of suitors lining up to grab his signature, with reported links to Everton and Leeds United.

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