Former Matildas coach Tom Sermanni says Alen Stajcic's sacking as Matildas coach was "weird and confusing" – and insists unhappy players is simply a reality of elite sport.
"The FFA statement [on Stajcic's sacking] was very vague, which made the decision even more bizarre," he told FTBL.
"The reality is, in elite sport, you're not going to be keeping everyone happy and there's going to be conflict.
"There are going to be people who are unhappy and who feel the situation for whatever reason is not fair. Well, the reality of elite sport and life is that it's not fair.
"And at times you just need to suck it up and get on with it. Unless, and I stress unless, the environment has reached a stage where it does become untenable.
"If making judgments on a playing group or a program or a squad were all about being happy, and that was a criterion, then there wouldn't be any coaches in any jobs!
"That's the reality. It's about getting that balance right."
Stajcic was sacked by FFA on Saturday ahead of June's World Cup in France. The governing body said the move was a result of an anonymous player survey which picked up 'workplace environment issues'.
Sermanni, who coached the Matildas at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and is a hugely respected voice in women's football having also coached the USA national team, has known Stajcic for many years.
He respects Stajcic, who has guided the Matildas up the world rankings with a Golden Generation of talent, many of whom he has mentored.
Sermanni pointed to a recent situation in New Zealand when 12 to 15 national team players retired around the time of a new coach.
“That's when you obviously look into it and think, ‘Is there something going on?’ It was a little more extreme," said the veteran Scots-born coach.
“But I had not seen heard or sensed that here with any of the Matildas I had contact with, and I have had a reasonable amount of contact time with a number of Matildas.
"And Staj has been in the system for probably 12 years so it's not as if he's someone who's just come in and tried to suddenly change things.”
Sermanni, based in Sydney but now coaching the New Zealand national team, spent time with Stajcic watching W-League games over summer in Sydney and said he had no inkling of any unrest within the camp.
"I'd been with Staj at the last two Sydney FC W-League games and I never sensed any kind of underlying issues or anything like tension.
"There was no indication of an undercurrent of discontent. I was taken aback by the decision. Like everyone else, I was taken completely off guard by this decision.
"I read the FFA statement and to be honest it was vague at best. So I'm really in the dark like everyone else.
"Part of the FFA statement mentioned lack of technical expertise, I mean to turn around and say lack of technical expertise and to have a team in the highest rankings in world football I think is a little bit contradictory.
“So I'm as confused as everyone else."
He added: "Obviously people were uninclined to go into details, but considering the length of time that Stajcic has been there and the staff have been there, the timing of it seems to be quite bizarre, looking from the outside.
"I don't think it's a great time to do this given the World Cup is in June. I don't know any other issues involved but purely from a football perspective, there wasn't any great logic behind it.
"With five months from the World Cup who do you bring in as a replacement? And how are they going to get to know the team and take the team forward?
"You don't have much time to prepare so logic would say it would be hard to say it is a positive move."
Stajcic was contacted by FTBL on Saturday but said he couldn't comment for legal reasons.