AXED Boston United manager Jason Lee feels "letdown" by chairman David Newton and says it is time for fans to lower their expectations levels.
Lee, who was sacked by Newton last week, insists he had to work with a "mid-table budget" and that a Blue Square Bet North play-off place should be regarded as a bonus rather than a realistic expectation.
The former Nottingham Forest striker insists he was hampered by two budget cuts during his spell as manager, which began in tandem with Lee Canoville in March 2011.
Lee revealed he considered resigning after Canoville was released as joint-boss at the end of last season, but stayed on out of loyalty to his players.
"I feel disappointed and letdown by the chairman to be honest," said Lee, who left the Pilgrims 10th in Blue Square Bet North, five points outside the play-offs.
"The issue that needs addressing is the budget and I don't think a lot of the fans realise it.
"I had two budget cuts in my time at the club. We just didn't have the money to go out and spend big money and the fans need to understand that.
"I understand that money's tight. It's the club's money and the chairman must spend it wisely.
"But it's a mid-table budget and there's only a little bit left. I imagine the next manager will have to do a bit of wheeling and dealing if he wants to bring in new players.
"I'm not saying it's impossible to get into the play-offs.
"With a little bit of luck it could happen. I hope it does happen, but it would be a bonus.
"People seem to think because the club has a big fanbase and is an ex-Football League club that it should be challenging near the top and can go out and buy this player and that player.
"Well, the club hasn't got a divine right to achieve success and perhaps people need to lower their expectation levels.
"I was working with a young, hard-working squad. I cannot fault the players for the effort they put in, but young players make mistakes and aren't always consistent."
Lee admitted he was close to resigning in the summer after friend and joint-manager Canoville was relieved of his position.
"It was difficult because he is colleague and a friend and I was disappointed to see him leave the club," said Lee.
"I thought about moving on myself, but I looked at the situation and decided to keep my head down and carry on.
"I feel I brought some good players into the club and I wanted to be loyal to them.
"I worked extremely hard to get the likes of Marc Newsham, Spencer Weir-Daley and Ian Ross to stay. I wanted to stay for them.
"I had to show them they were at the right club by doing things properly and professionally."
As well as resetting their expectations, Lee also feels Boston fans should be more supportive at home games.
In his penultimate game in charge, the 3-2 defeat to Altrincham, both he and Ross spoke out against the negative comments emanating from the terraces.
Lee reiterated those views following his dismissal.
"I can take a few negatives comments, but we've got a lot of young players in the side and it doesn't help them or the team," he added.
"I hear the fan shout 'we pay your wages' and that's fair enough, but the players are out there giving their all.
"Generally the fans have been excellent in my time at the club, but I think there needs to be a bit more realism about the situation."