Aston Villa director General Charles Krulak has accused Martin O'Neill of thinking he was "bigger than our club", while reassuring fans that Ashley Young and Brad Friedel will not be sold following the manager's unexpected departure on Monday.
Martin O'Neill quits Villa
Villa were left reeling by O'Neill's decision to resign just five days before the start of the Premier League season, with reserve team manager Kevin MacDonald asked to take charge of the side for Saturday's game against West Ham.
While O'Neill and Villa have kept their counsel over the reasons for his departure so far, it has been reported that disagreements over transfer policy convinced the former Celtic manager to relinquish his position at Villa Park.
Krulak was keen to praise O'Neill's success in the four years he spent with the club, but also claimed the manager was reluctant to comply with financial restrictions regarding the size of the Villa wage budget.
Krulak told the Villa fansite VillaTalk.com: "There is absolutely no question that Martin did a good job for Villa and I have said that over and over. At the same time, I can promise everyone that he knew and understood the long-range plans for the club and bought into them.
"He knew full well about the need to bring wages in line with revenue - the same as every Premiership club. He was absolutely supported by the owner during his time with the club. All one needs to do is look at the money spent.
"The reality is that the wage-to-revenue issue was not addressed and Martin apparently was unwilling to help address it. He quit. No one person is bigger than our club - not me, not Randy, not Paul Faulkner [chief executive], not Martin. What is interesting is that, apparently, only three of those named understand that fact."
It is believed Villa are hoping to have a replacement in place in time for their second game of the season - against Newcastle on August 22 - but Krulak says chairman Randy Lerner will not rush his decision.
"What I will say is that we recognise this is an important decision and one that needs to be done rather quickly but, equally important, in a manner that gets the right man," Krulak said. "We do know how important this will be. No-one is thinking it will be easy.
"The reality is that we have four days before our first game and rushing out to get a manager is not the smart thing to do just to have someone on the sidelines. One of the sad things about this whole affair is that Martin left when he did."
Krulak has also sought to play down suggestions that plans to sell Friedel and Young were behind O'Neill's decision to leave Villa Park. Friedel has dismissed suggestions that he was being targeted by Fulham while Young is reported to be interesting Tottenham.
"We are not selling Young or Friedel," he said. "I have written many times that we are trying to run the club in a sensible and sustainable manner but, at the same time, the amount of money we have spent over the past four years should tell everyone that we marry this approach with aggressive ambition! Some of the rumours have been truly amazing."