Former United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann said he believes the team was on track to qualify for this year's World Cup before he was removed as manager and the Americans subsequently missed out on Russia 2018.
Klinsmann also said that he would have quit the team following the 2014 World Cup -- despite his contract going through 2018 -- if he had known he'd be fired just for losing "two games."
After a poor start to the final CONCACAF qualifying round -- including losses to Mexico and Costa Rica -- Klinsmann was let go. Under his successor Bruce Arena, the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after a loss to Trinidad and Tobago in the final qualifier last October.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Klinsmann said: "The team was on track. We would have swallowed the early defeats and moved on and get the job done.
"You build a new skeleton between World Cups and we hadn't built the skeleton yet. When we lost two games, we were still building the skeleton. Sorry we lost two games! Then [the U.S. Federation] became emotional. But they made their decision, so no problem.
"If I'd have known that they'd make the decision to cut [me] short, because [I] lost two games, probably I would have stepped out after 2014."
In April, Klinsmann said he believed the failure of the U.S. team to qualify for the 2018 edition of the game's biggest tournament was a major disappointment that set the American game back several years.
In January, one of Klinsmann's former players Geoff Cameron backed the assertion that the U.S. would still have made the World Cup if they hadn't replaced the manager, saying: "It's on us as players, but at the end of the day, I'm convinced if they would have kept Jurgen and not done such a drastic change, I think we would have qualified. I know we would have qualified. Instead we've gone backward."
And the former Germany manager told SI he wasn't the type of person to waste time looking back, while admitting he'd come to grips with why "certain things happened."
He said: "They have their reasons, they are your bosses so you have to accept that. It was an amazing ride. Were there some bumps in the process? Absolutely, some losses. Absolutely. But it didn't take me long [to move on] because I knew why certain things happened.
"You analyze it, discuss it and move on. One door closes and three more open."
In that spirit, Klinsmann said in the SI story that he wanted to coach a national team again after doing commentary for the BBC in Russia, while downplaying any interest in coaching in Major League Soccer and flat-out denying a rumour he was set to take a job as manager of Liga MX club Pachuca.