On a day when Financial Fair Play took a major hit, Daniel Farke pointed to the financial gap between clubs as he reflected on Norwich City's relegation.
The Canaries boss watched West Ham United dish out a 4-0 hammering to his team in the Premier League at the weekend which finally confirmed their status as an English Championship club for next season.
Unlike fellow promotees, Sheffield United and Aston Villa, the Norfolk club resisted the urge to spend tens of millions on new players but Farke was also willing to present himself as a human shield for his squad when he spoke today.
"We have to be honest and say we were not good enough, but I cannot blame one person. I can only apologise. I'm disappointed that I was not able to work another miracle," said Farke.
"There is a big gap in us and other clubs finances and individual quality. The only guy I blame is myself, but I think it's important to leave the players."
Farke's words come as UEFA's control over the game is being questioned following the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to overturn the punishment that the governing body handed down to Manchester City for breaches of the FFP regulations.
Ironically, one of Norwich's five wins this season came against City, back in September, and despite the team's inability to achieve similar performances to that one, Farke expressed his pride at having had the chance.
"Once relegation is confirmed, it isn't possible to enjoy the game, but it is an honour to play in the best league in the world. It's our chance to create momentum," added Farke ahead of tomorrow's trip to Chelsea.
"Once relegation is confirmed you feel the pain, but I'm in a leading role and have to be a role model.
"It's important to show character and personality in these moments, not just because its our job, but to show class even in difficult times."
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) July 11, 2020
Villa, whose majority shareholders are fellow billionaires Nassef Sawiris and American Wes Edens, spent over £140 million on signings in an attempt to remain in the Premier League and are currently a place above Norwich and four points from safety with just three matches left to play.
Sheffield United, who are owned by the Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad, could still qualify for Europe having also spent big although the Yorkshire club did not lose as many players as Villa through retirements and loanees returning to their parent clubs.
Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber told Canaries TV that his club could not dream of such spending.
"If you look at the other two teams promoted, one spent over £100 million and one spent £60-70 million. We can’t compete with that," said Webber.
"We spoke when we got promoted last year, the words that we used weren’t a joke when we said we’d be the lowest spenders, have the lowest budget and it was going to be unbelievably difficult and we needed another miracle – that wasn’t us trying to buy time and trying to have a laugh with people.
"That’s where we’re at. We’ve gone into the Premier League with an extremely inexperienced young team, we’ve not been able to recruit the level of player that we want."
Norwich were stung previously when they were relegated three seasons ago having spent over £30 million on transfers in an attempt to stay in the top-flight while over £60 million was spent on wages.
Webber, who was appointed as part of restructuring at the club in April 2017, is adamant that they could not go down that road again.
"Listen, we’ve sold a lot of players over the last few years that have gone into the Premier League and not performed and we’ve got a lot of money for them, so even when you have money, unless you have ‘real’ money and you can spend money to get top quality, you can also go and waste a lot of money.
"That’s one thing I’ll make no apologies for, that’s one thing I was refusing to do. I was not going to put this club in the state I found it – frankly, if people don’t like that, I’m okay with it. If people above me don’t like it, then I’ll go
"But I’m not going to leave this place in the state I found it in because I truly believe if this football club is to be here forever and I’m passing through trying to make it the best it can be, if it was about my ego or Daniel’s ego, then, yeah of course, we would have spent a load of money and maybe got a few ‘likes’ on Twitter while we did it, leave the club in a hole, potentially get relegated and we get sacked and someone else has to pick up the mess."