Valencia boss Claudio Ranieri believed his old job at Chelsea was under threat as early as July 2003 - when Roman Abramovich took over the club.
The Italian left Chelsea at the end of last season after a four-year reign.
He told BBC Five Live that he expected to be replaced by current England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson "in 2003 - at the start of the Roman Abramovich era".
He added: "When you see Sven with Mr Abramovich and all the rumours, it was very difficult to maintain my job."
Now back in Spain for a second spell as Valencia boss, Ranieri says focusing on his job helped him block out all the speculation at Chelsea.
"From the beginning I understood very clearly that I had two ways - follow all the rumours and get crazy or work, work and work. I followed the second," he revealed.
Ranieri, who was succeeded by Jose Mourinho and not Eriksson, insists he feels no bitterness towards Abramovich and has not ruled out making a return to England.
"I like the atmosphere, the ambience. A lot of children come to the stadiums and I like English football.
"I have my home here in London and life is very long, so why not?" Ranieri added on the Sportsweek programme.