Ange Postecoglou has revealed he quit the Socceroos job because influential football people considered qualifying for the World Cup as the defining factor to his coaching reign.
The 53-year-old sensationally resigned from the Australian national team role after getting the team to Russia 2018 via a playoff victory against Honduras.
Postecoglou says he wanted to instil a blueprint for the green and gold to flourish in the future, but parties such as Football Federation Australia and media figures were only interested in booking a spot at football's premier tournament.
"Using my own advice, I didn’t take the Socceroos job because it was available. It was a generational change, the greats were getting to the end. There was a real opportunity with a new group to grow and try something different as a nation, with the way we play and do things," Postecoglou told the Herald Sun.
"That got chipped away. In the end, people made it very clear that all they were interested in was whether we’ll qualify — nothing else mattered.
"At that point I thought, okay, let’s qualify and then I can go off and do things again that were challenging for me.
"What was driving me was trying to create something. I knew it was going to be a tough ask to marry this idyllic view of how I wanted us to play football with the harsh reality of results. But I was confident I could do it.
"In the end I was the only one thinking that way. FFA weren’t, the board wasn’t. It’s their right — they thought, great fantastic, nice words, but we just want to qualify for the World Cup because if we don’t it’s a disaster for the game."
Postecoglou took over the Socceroos prior the 2014 World Cup - after consecutive 6-0 beatings from France and Brazil - and led the team to a respectable effort in Brazil before winning the Asian Cup on home soil six months later.
"The seeds were planted 12 months out where the talk started changing around the team and people around and within the team, just started focusing on this one thing – qualifying,’’ Postecoglou said.
"Things happened behind the scenes, some issues around budgeting, we started taking money here and there, had some internal conflicts. Usual discussions about prioritising funds.
"Then a couple of results didn’t go our way, the public turns because of the commentary.
"I sensed there’s going to be a natural conclusion. My fierce determination and desire was that it’s going to be after we qualified.
"I certainly didn’t see us not qualifying. I wouldn’t have left before that – ultimately that was my brief."