After being dumped out of the A-League finals at the end of his tenure at Wellington Phoenix, Mark Rudan believes the club will continue to flourish without him.
Rudan’s Phoenix lost 3-1 to Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Friday night, their livewire season ended by the reigning champions and competition powerhouse.
It was a predictable result; Victory had won 10 of their 11 home finals before Friday night.
Goals from Georg Niedermeier, Kosta Barbarouses and man of the match Ola Toivonen allowed Victory to march on to a semi-final with Sydney FC.
But it came after Wellington's shock rise to a first finals campaign in four years.
Rudan, who signed a two-year deal to coach the club, will now return to Australia after citing homesickness.
He is expected to be unveiled as coach of Victoria-based expansion side Western United as soon as this week.
Rudan bristled when asked to describe his legacy at the club.
“Maybe ask Timmy Cahill that question,” he said in a reference to the Socceroos’ autobiography title.
“Its not something I think of.
“I came to the club when I think both parties needed it. A fresh approach. Someone with new ideas.
“The club was at a lull and it was my job to pick up a lot of things.
"I believe as a club we’re at a better place than we were in day one in pre-season.
“If anyone questions the existence of this club, you’re kidding yourself.
"There’s a platform there to build on and I’m sure it will continue to go in the upwards fashion.”
Against Victory, Rudan said individual errors were costly, and Victory had the experience to make them pay.
Roy Krishna’s goal to bring the score back to 2-1 showed they were worthy finals competitors.
Rudan's side tallied seven yellow cards to Victory’s nil - the biggest differential in A-League history - but he denied taking an overly hostile approach.
“I thought we performed admirably and I’m very proud of their performance,” he said.
“A lot of these guys haven’t played finals football. It’s a different beast altogether.
“I’m bitterly disappointed … I firmly believed we would be playing Perth Glory next week."