|By CARLY ADNO
Ian Crook revealed he quit as Sydney FC head coach because the pressures of the job had started to become a burden on him.
Crook sent Tony Pignata, the club's boss, a text message at 1:30am local time on Sunday, signalling his intention to resign.
Pignata initially tried to talk Crook out of his decision, but ultimately accepted it when the two met later that morning.
Addressing the media on Sunday afternoon, Crook rubbished speculation that the club had pushed him out following Sydney's disappointing start to the season, saying his decision was "weeks in the making".
"I just felt that it started to affect me and probably my health," Crook said.
"I haven't enjoyed it for a few weeks if the truth be known.
"I feel like it's been a burden, a constant burden."
Crook said the defeats to Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory were the final straw, but he admitted he wanted to leave as early as the first city A-League derby win over Western Sydney Wanderers in October.
"We beat Western Sydney, first win, inaugural derby, big crowd, and I went home in the car afterwards and I felt flat," he said.
In a very honest assessment of his time as head coach, Crook was not afraid to admit he struggled to handle the pressure on him, especially with the high-profile arrival of Alessandro Del Piero.
"There is a huge amount of pressure on this job and I think you have to be a special kind of individual to take it on," he said.
"What I love is out on the pitch, is actually coaching out on the pitch, and for me probably all of this [media attention] has become a little bit of a burden.
"And with Alessandro coming I think the whole thing has got bigger... and that's become a bit of a weight on my shoulders, to be honest with you, and I probably haven't handled it that great."
Pignata hopes Crook remains at the club in some capacity, with Crook saying he would like to focus on youth development.
Assistant coach Steve Corica will take over until the club finds a new coach.