Former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has taken a parting swipe at critics he says had used "cheap shots" to undermine him and the national team.
Speaking for the first time since taking up his new post with J.League heavyweights Yokohama F Marinos, Postecoglou resolved that his turbulent final year as coach has left him and Australian football in need of "a trial separation".
Postecoglou addressed some of the factors contributing to last month's resignation, admitting the stress and external pressure of the job had taken a toll on his family.
He conceded a recent reminder of his infamous interview a decade ago with Craig Foster on SBS made him determined to leave the national set-up on his terms this time.
The 52-year-old also revealed there was more to the story behind his sudden and mysterious departure, but believed divulging it now would not "serve a purpose or help the game".
Criticism of Postecoglou began after his change to the team's formation in the midst of the World Cup qualifiers, and mushroomed over the next nine months until he walked away after leading Australia to Russia 2018.
Some of it he felt was justified.
"The stuff that annoyed was towards the end, I thought people started having cheap shots about me losing the players and stuff ... almost a deliberate attempt to undermine, which I wasn't going to take," Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
"Once we started going down that road - and I got that sense particularly towards the tail end - I thought maybe I need to remove myself from the situation.
"Maybe Australian football and me need a bit of a trial separation, just for both of us to feel good about ourselves."
Postecoglou praised Australian football but also lamented "there are elements ... that wear you down", though he again denied a falling out with FFA had contributed to his decision.
Postecoglou has been signed to coach in Japan's J-League. Pic: Getty
One moment that was "absolutely" a factor in his thinking occurred in March after Australia's first game using three at the back, a 1-1 away draw with Iraq.
During a TV interview, Peter FitzSimons asked whether Postecoglou would resign if the Socceroos did not beat the UAE in their next match. The question brought back memories of his explosive 2007 interview with Foster directly before his sacking as Australia's youth team coach.
"I'm kind of just sitting there and gone into a time warp of 10 years ago ... after everything that's happened," Postecoglou said.
"It jolted me a little bit ... I thought after everything we've achieved and the journey we're on, qualification in our hands, I said I'm not going to go down that path again where I allow external forces to decide my fate.
"That wasn't all of it but certainly a part."
Postecoglou was excited to return to club football in Japan's top flight, a strong overseas league that could act as a stepping stone to his dream of coaching in Europe.