An emotional Mark Rudan has apologised to Wellington Phoenix fans for his decision to quit the club, but says he simply has to put his family first.
Phoenix confirmed on Monday that Rudan would leave the club at the end of the 2018/19 Season, walking out with a year to run on his contract.
In a 40-minute press conference on Wednesday, Rudan revealed the personal struggle over his decision, having helped transform the club from strugglers to Hyundai A-League contenders.
But living apart from his young family, who remained back in Sydney, was taking too much of a toll on the 43-year-old.
"It wasn't my intention to lead anyone on. I was just very confused what to do and what the best thing was. But it got to a point where it puts a strain on your relationship, it really does,” Rudan told reporters.
“I'm tied here but my family is over there and we had some tough, heated discussions about it all.
"I go home and I'm on my own. I don't go out. Some of you might be at bars but you won't see me out because I'm home, and you're home alone. You can WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype as much as you want.
"But there are moments when a dad has got to be a dad and be there and put his arm around his kids. He's got to be there for the family and I've missed that, and I don't want to miss that again.
"I was always going to let someone down no matter what decision I made. I've let my club down and my fans down and everybody here and that's genuinely how I feel. They've got every reason to be upset with my decision, I get that. I'm sorry to those who I've upset and I just hope they can understand my side."
There has been plenty of speculation that Rudan has already agreed to join new Hyundai A-League franchise Western United FC.
But the former Sydney FC championship-winning defender insists he hasn’t signed with any other club and plans to wait until the end of the season to sort out his future.
"I'm a professional coach and whatever I do decide to do next my family will be with me,” Rudan stressed.
“They will be in the same house as me. But apart from that I haven't signed a contract with anybody. It's as simple as that.
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"Right now, the full focus is on this football club and making sure we finish off the best way possible. I'll continue to give everything of myself until that final whistle blows.”
Rudan hasn’t ruled out returning to coach the Phoenix again one day, declaring he has ‘unfinished business’ with the Kiwi outfit.
"If this club wants me back, I'll be back in a heartbeat. I love it," said Rudan.
"The people of Wellington and this club have really taken me in. I understand why [the fans] angry and everything they want to say about me they're right. All I can do is apologise.
“I worked hard, I gave it my all and dedicated a year of my life to this and there's a lot more to go.
“I'd love to come back but who knows where life takes you? I thought I was going to be here not just for two years, but a lot longer. I love this place. If it was just about me, I'd be here long-term."