David Moyes has admitted he was swaying towards staying at Everton before Manchester United came calling to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Everton boss was out of contract in the summer and was always insistent that he would discuss his future until the end of the season when he had evaluated how the Toffees fared.
However, Ferguson revealed on Wednesday that he would retire from his post at United and the club moved swiftly to get Moyes, who was confirmed on Thursday as the first new manager at Old Trafford since 1986.
But Moyes admitted he had been leaning towards continuing his 11-year-long stay at Goodison Park.
He said: “I was not planning to leave Everton. My mind was actually swaying towards staying at Everton. I have everything in place for next season and the chairman knows the route that we want to go.”
The media were told before arrival that they would not be allowed to ask directly about his move to Manchester United but he did reveal how difficult it will be to leave Everton.
“It was very difficult, because I have great respect for the chairman (Bill Kenwright). He is a great guy. Never critical, always supportive. It was a difficult meeting to tell him I would be leaving.
“Sometime you have to leave a club and I hope that I am leaving them in the best way I can.”
Moyes also paid tribute to the man he will be replacing at Old Trafford.
“It’s a strange thing. I don’t think anybody thought he would retire,” he said. “He is superhuman. I thought he was a great example to everyone in their 70s, living longer, eating healthily. I
“I did not know anything. He will be sorely missed. He always had a word for everyone. I know how much he is respected.”
Moyes insists he will help chairman Bill Kenwright find his successor at Goodison Park and believes the foundations are there for Everton to continue to develop.
“I’ve spoken with the chairman and he has asked me to help. I will help as much as I can. Walter Smith (Moyes’predecessor) was very good with me and recommended me for the club. Anything that I can do to help Bill and the club, I will do.”
Moyes insists he is focused on ensuring Everton finish the season strong in their remaining two games – beginning with his last match in charge at Goodison this Sunday against West Ham.
“We have gone about training in the normal way,” said Moyes, who admitted the week had been “turbulent”.
He explained: “I thought that this day could happen, (but) I did not expect so soon. It was thrown upon me, just take it and move on. The big thing is that we do not let it affect us.”
There have been questions raised that Moyes might have stepped aside before the final two games and the Scot is glad he has not been asked, even though he would have done so if requested.
“No, it never crossed my mind (not to finish the last two games), he said. “I hoped I would get the chance to finish off the job. I would have no problem stepping aside if I had been asked.”