Hertha Berlin head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has left his role at the Bundesliga club after less than three months in charge, saying "I took over a suicide mission."
The former Bayern Munich, Germany and U.S. men's national team coach confirmed his departure in a statement posted on his Facebook page and said he will remain at the club in a supervisory role.
"I took over a suicide mission," Klinsmann told Bild. "Only in one match, we did not get what I hoped for. The coaching staff managed to stabilize the team and get it away from the relegation ranks.
"From my understanding, a coach should have the full sporting responsibility, just like the English model. And, thus, also over transfers. This gives the position more power. The last few weeks cost too much energy spent with side issues. If I am responsible for the team as a coach, I want to put all my energy into working with the squad."
Those quotes followed his earlier statement on Facebook, in which he said: "I would like to say a big thank you to all players, fans, spectators, staff and my colleagues at Hertha Berlin for the support, the many meetings and the talks over the past ten weeks. It was an incredibly exciting time for me with many new interesting insights. The club and the city have grown on me even more.
"In late November, we followed the request of the club leadership with a highly competent team and helped out during a difficult time. Within a relatively short period of time we set out on a good path. Also because of the support of many people we put six points between us and the relegation playoff place despite mostly difficult games.
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"I am more than convinced that Hertha will reach its goal to stay up. But for this job, which is not done yet, as the head coach I need the trust of the acting persons. Especially in a relegation battle unity, team spirit and focus on the basics are the most important elements. If they are not guaranteed, I can't live up to my potential as a head coach and fulfil my responsibility.
"That's why, after long consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I will leave my post as the Hertha Berlin head coach and return to my initial long-term task as a member of the supervisory board. The supporters, the players and staff have grown dear to me in this time and that's why I will continue to cheer for Hertha.
"I continue to look forward to the many encounters with you in the city or in the stadium."
Sources close to Klinsmann told ESPN last week that he felt unnerved by what he thought was a lack of support over a coaching license issue in January.
Having not coached in Germany since his dismissal at Bayern Munich in early 2009, Klinsmann had not renewed his license, which is required every three years in Germany. He had to provide documents as proof of continuing education to have his license renewed in time for the Bayern Munich home match, Hertha's first game of 2020.
Hertha cancelled Tuesday's scheduled news conference with Alexander Nouri, one of Klinsmann's assistant coaches, as the players trained ahead of the trip to Paderborn on Saturday.
"We were all in the meeting room and the players thought it was the meeting after the game against Mainz, but instead he said he won't be our coach anymore," midfielder Marko Grujic, on loan from Liverpool, told reporters.
"Strange news this morning. We are all a little bit confused. After the match we received the information that we won't train for two days to clear our heads. Because it was far from good on Saturday."
"It's a great shock," defender Dedryck Boyata added.
Winger Javairo Dilrosun called Klinsmann's departure a "great loss" for the club.
He said: "He was a great personality. Now, there's chaos here. And we need to win on Saturday to calm things down."
"We were surprised by the developments this morning. Especially after such a trustful cooperation during the intense winter transfer period, there were no signs at all for this," Michael Preetz, Hertha Berlin's sporting executive, said.
"We will inform about the further developments at a given time."
He added that Nouri will take charge of the club on an interim basis.
Klinsmann, 55, was appointed by Hertha on Nov. 26, 2019, and won just three of his 10 matches in charge, losing four and drawing three.
Hertha are 14th in the Bundesliga, six points off the relegation places. In January, they signed Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan; sources told ESPN the striker cost a fee in the region of €27 million -- a club record.