Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has admitted his relief at his club's qualification for the Champions League next year, while admitting they had "made mistakes" in 2017/18.
Speaking to RevierSport, Zorc also claimed one of the contributing factors to Dortmund's poor season - in which they finished an incredible 29 points behind Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich - was the bitter departures of former star players Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona and Arsenal respectively.
Zorc said: "I believe that we ultimately solved the incidents in the best possible way in the interests of the club. But it still has an effect in the dressing room when a player has already announced his transfer to his colleagues."
Dortmund finished the Bundesliga season by sneaking into fourth place on the final day on goal difference, despite a 3-1 loss to Hoffenheim, securing their Champions League qualification for next season after a turbulent campaign.
Head coach Peter Stoger - himself a mid-season replacement for the dismissed Peter Bosz - resigned following the defeat, while Nice manager Lucien Favre has been tipped to take over next season.
Zorc also said there would also be a "change on the player side" in order to improve performances next season.
He continued: "Of course, we made mistakes. If you dismiss your coach [Bosz] before Christmas, then of course you have not been right."
"We are relieved to be in the Champions League after a difficult and complicated season for a variety of reasons," he added. "This season was not a glorious one, but we now have plans for security with which to build our future and to implement our ideas. The idea being that now we have to have a new start."