Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists they had to sack Kenny Dalglish because results did not match up to longer-term expectations.
The Scot won the Carling Cup, the club's first trophy for six years, and reached the FA Cup final but an eighth-placed league finish resulted in Fenway Sports Group dismissing him after 16 months in charge.
"The most important element which isn't quite there is the football," said the managing director. "If you don't believe the results are right and feel 37 points off the champions and 17 points off Champions League pace is a long distance you have to make a change."
Ayre said no matter how much work had been done off the pitch in terms of the structure and business of the club if results did not match up then change was inevitable.
He admitted the club had already had numerous expressions of interest in the vacant manager's position but stressed their search had not yet properly begun.
He added: "You believe you have to improve that part because without it things begin to fall away. We have to get the football right. Should Kenny have been given longer? People will always have a different view.
"We had to make a decision as a board and we have to stand by it and move forward. The history the club was built on was about success and that means success in the league, which leads to Champions League football, and also winning trophies.
"No-one is saying we didn't enjoy winning the Carling Cup and getting to the FA Cup final but ultimately the backbone of football now is the Premier League and European football at the highest level. It was important we moved forward in that direction and results are what mattered this year."
On the removal of Dalglish, an iconic figure at Anfield, from his second spell in charge Ayre said: "It goes without saying that these decisions are difficult but they are far more difficult when it is someone who is iconic and respected in the fabric of the football club.
"You have to make the same decisions for the right reasons but they are compounded when it is such a great person who has given so much to the club."