David Beckham was left "disappointed" by Ruud Gullit's departure as Los Angeles Galaxy coach but supported the Dutchman's decision to walk away if life was not working out for him in California.
Gullit resigned for "personal reasons" on Monday, and was followed out of the club by the man who brought Beckham to Major League Soccer – the Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas – who was fired.
The departures came amid another turbulent season for Galaxy, who have not won in their last seven games and sit outside the play-off places.
That has led to speculation that Gullit's decision was about more than personal reasons – and that he may have jumped before he was pushed. But Beckham denied that, and said Gullit had to do what was right for him.
"Obviously, it's disappointing," he told the Los Angeles Times. "It's disappointing to lose somebody who's a good coach and a good person. It happens in football clubs and it's happened here. Maybe it happened too early, but we wish him good luck in whatever he goes on and does.
"He was comfortable with the players," Beckham added. "It's different for him to coach here than it is in Europe, but I think he adapted really well. He's taken the decision to move on because of family reasons and everyone knows family always comes first, so good luck to him."
However, other players disputed that view, with the veteran midfielder Peter Vagenas saying "there's blood in the water" after the departures, while United States captain Landon Donovan revealed he had not always seen eye to eye with Gullit.
"Believe it or not, it was actually better toward the end," Donovan said. "Initially, he was a little hard on me. I was always fine with that as long as it was respectful. At times it was a little disrespectful and that bothered me. But I think he figured out that as long as he treated me respectfully he could say things to me and I would get on with it. So I would characterise [our relationship] as good at the end.
"From Ruud's standpoint, I think it's been difficult for him... because it's not what he was used to growing up. If you've been in a certain way of soccer for 40 years and you come somewhere where you can't get the players you want, you can't do the things you want, you don't have an unlimited budget, you have other issues around you that affect things, then it makes it very difficult.
"So I understand his frustration with all that. It's not easy and not a lot of foreign coaches have done well here for that reason."
* Kilmarnock have signed the Coventry striker Donovan Simmonds on loan for the remainder of the year. The 19-year-old had a trial at Rugby Park over the summer and Killie manager Jim Jefferies has taken him on a deal that will run until 31 December.Reuse content