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Slavisa Jokanovic explains Watford exit

Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic on the touchline during the Sky Bet Championship match at Vicarage Road, Watford.
Image: Slavisa Jokanovic: No hard feelings over departure

Former Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic has said he left Vicarage Road because he felt he was no longer wanted by the club.

Jokanovic - who has since been appointed as the new manager of Israeli treble winners Maccabi Tel Aviv - led Watford to the Premier League last season after they finished runners-up to Bournemouth in the Sky Bet Championship.

But he failed to agree a new deal with owner Gino Pozzo and was subsequently replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores as Watford prepare for top-flight football for the first time in eight years.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Jokanovic said: "I felt he didn't have a real will to renew my contract. My priority was to stay at Watford after promotion. It made sense to think that way.

Quique Sanchez Flores gestures during a Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at Vicente Calderon in 2010.
Image: Former Atletico Madrid boss Quique Sanchez Flores has replaced Slavisa Jokanovic at Watford

"What happened next made me realise there was no real intention to renew my contract. There was a first contact but there wasn't a follow-up from him, which should be normal in any negotiation process. After waiting, I assumed that I had to move on."

It was reported that the club offered Jokanovic a basic salary of £1m - while he wanted a three-year deal worth £2.5m a season; Jokanovic says those claims are far from the truth.

He said: "I never demanded a pay rise like that. I simply understood that we all deserved to improve our terms after the team's success and the promotion to the Premier League.

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Graham Taylor is surprised by his former side's frequent change of manager

"I felt I was being offered probably half of the lowest wages of a manager in the Premier League." 

Despite the troubled end to his eight-month tenure in Hertfordshire, Jokanovic insists he bears no ill-will to the club and the supporters.

He said: "I am not resentful. Watford will always have a special place in my heart. The players, the staff and the fans treated me in an exceptional manner."

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