Incoming Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has revealed for the first time why he decided to delay starting work as Owls boss.
Bruce, who was appointed at the start of the year but will not take charge until February 1, was heavily criticised for taking time off by pundits Danny Murphy and Ruud Gullit during the coverage of Wednesday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Chelsea yesterday.
But the former Manchester United defender has undergone two operations since departing Aston Villa in October and has recently been on a family holiday in Barbados following the England men's cricket team.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Bruce said: “I have had two operations and I’ve been recovering in Barbados.
"I did not hide anything from Sheffield Wednesday and they were perfectly happy with the plan. It was done with their full support.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if they were not aware of the situation and what I needed to have done. I was completely open and honest with them when we talked about me taking the job. It is extremely disappointing that people have tried to make something negative out of it."
Bruce said he promised his wife he would go on a pre-planned holiday after a traumatic 2018 in which he lost both his mother and father. Bruce was also sacked by Aston Villa last October.
He said: “People also have to realise that I had an extremely tough year in 2018, losing both my parents and I’d promised those close to me that I’d take a break. It took a lot out of me emotionally, it really did, and this is something I needed to do."
The 58-year-old admits he contemplated whether to end his managerial career before accepting the Hillsborough job.
The Owls approached him before Christmas and Bruce was persuaded to take the role by Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri.
Bruce, a four-time promotion winner, said: “The fact I’ve also had surgery and was in not a condition to start work immediately, meant I postponed my first day as Sheffield Wednesday’s manager.
"But that does not mean I’m not excited about starting. I’m fit and I’m raring to go.
"I don’t want this to drag on and on. I don’t want to be answering questions about this in the days and weeks to come. What I’ve had done in terms of my operations is also a private matter. I hope people can understand what has happened and can let me concentrate on managing the team. That is all I’m thinking about. I can’t wait to get started now."
Bruce will be formally unveiled at a press conference at Hillsborough on Thursday.