Derek McInnes speaks out on Bristol City sacking
Former Bristol City manager Derek McInnes has spoken of the pressure he was under to halve the Ashton Gate wage bill by the start of next season.
McInnes inherited an inflated and expensive squad when he succeeded Keith Milln in the job in October 2011.
If his immediate remit was to keep the Robins in the Championship, he was also charged with the task of slashing a spiralling wage bill which exceeded £18m in the financial year ended 31 May, 2012.
McInnes kept City up last season and set about reducing the size of his squad, off-loading 13 players during the first six months of last year.
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He continued to work within tight financial constraints this season, but lost his job when City slipped to the foot of the Championship table following a 4-0 home defeat to Leicester last week.
Talking in public for the first time since he departed Ashton Gate, the 41-year-old Scot told Talksport about the difficulties he faced cutting the wage to come in line wityh the requirements of Financial Fair Play.
McInnes said: “My remit was to try and keep the club in the division. I’d inherited a bit of a mess and the situation back then was a lot worse than now.
“Although we signed some good players in Sam Baldock, Greg Cunningham and Steven Davies, we felt we needed to bring in a couple of centre-backs.
“That was vital to us and our failure to do that caused us problems. We really struggled to keep clean sheets and, ultimately, that is why we found ourselves at the foot of the Championship.
“I don’t think there are problems (behind the scenes) but I think they need to find a way to make it work.
“The owner, Steve Lansdown, has spent a lot of money on the club over the last few seasons and there has been very little reward for that.
“Last season we stayed up and there was an eagerness to build on that. But even this season, my remit was to keep the club in the Championship while bringing the wage bill down to more manageable levels. That is because of Financial Fair Play and, regardless of how wealthy the owner is, there are going to be restraints.
“I was well aware of that, had an understanding of it and knew the wage bill had to come down.
“It had to be halved by the start of next season and we were working towards that. That’s why I was bitterly disappointed.
“You expect the pressure of results to be there, but I felt there was no indication I would be losing my job.
“All the talk was of sticking together, moving forward and trying to work our way through the situation.
“But they have made their decision and it can still be a good club if it can go in the right direction.
“I saw what it could be last season when we went eight games unbeaten at the end and the fans turned out and were magnificent.
“They were always very good to me and I think there was an understanding of what we were trying to work towards.”