After a six-win season in his first year of charge at Toronto FC, manager Ryan Nelsen says he knows the clock is ticking on his MLS watch.
“They won’t give me much more time,” Nelsen told the New Zealand Herald. “It was pretty awful here when I arrived and we are in much better shape now but we will have to start turning things around soon.”
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment fired Toronto FC president Kevin Payne in September with MLSE boss Tim Leiweke saying at the time that Nelsen would be back in 2014 to manage the club.
Nelsen, a former New Zealand international, said it has been a stiff learning curve, a lesson not helped by the salary cap issues he inherited.
“We had five players that were taking up 81 per cent of the wage bill, and three of those players couldn’t take the field, for various reasons,” he said. “The club was just stuck with these bad contracts.”
Nelsen says he was perhaps “a bit naive” in his rookie year as manager but says he learned more than in his last 10 years as a player. And he told the Herald that Toronto, which finished 6-17-11 last season, is on the right track.
“We had to stop the bleeding,” said Nelsen. “We had to try and provide a base for the future. The fans and media can get on top of you but you need to stick to your guns. It’s not about me, it’s about the club. Even if I did get fired, the club will be in good shape in terms of the playing personnel and the salary cap situation; I’m quite proud of the transformation here.”