Watford “deserved everything they got” after Aston Villa pipped them to the final Premier League survival spot, according to Alex Bruce. 

The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, branded the Hornets’ board “an absolute disgrace” following their decision to sack Nigel Pearson with two games remaining.

Football Insider broke the news of Pearson’s dismissal on 19 July, but the decision back-fired as Watford lost their remaining two games, resulting in relegation to the Championship.

Their fate was sealed after Aston Villa picked up eight points from their last four games to survive.

And Bruce has heaped praise on the Villa board for sticking with manager Dean Smith despite a “roller-coaster” campaign.

“I don’t think Dean Smith has done anything wrong to deserve the sack,” Bruce told Football Insider.

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“He got them promoted and he’s done well keeping them in the league. To make changes when you’re in the midst of it, I don’t think Dean Smith had ever thought it would be an easy season.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride, so the fact he has kept them up on the back of getting them promoted, you’d have to say he’s done a good job.

“I think you can see what happens when you’re sacking manager and chopping and changing all the time, Watford have been a prime example.

“The way the owners have behaved, sacking Nigel Pearson, they’ve been an absolute disgrace and if you asked me deserved everything they got.”

Watford have already started their search for a new manager, with Football Insider exclusively revealing on Wednesday that they are preparing an approach to appoint Serbian coach Vladimir Ilic. 

In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips reacts to potential £70million deal after Sky reveal.

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