Southampton boss George Burley admits he sold his best players this summer to avoid the threat of administration.
Saints finances are a concern for Burley
Gareth Bale, Chris Baird and Pele were all sold and on Monday the Championship side crashed out of the Carling Cup at the hands of League Two's Peterborough.
Burley said: "I didn't want to sell my best players but the reality was to save the club from the possibility of going into administration.
"I'm not saying it would have happened but it could have. We staved that off."
Bale joined Tottenham for a package that may be worth £10m, Fulham signed Baird for £3m and Pele switched to West Brom for £1m.
Saints striker Kenwyne Jones has also been strongly linked to a £5m move to Derby but Burley is confident he can reject the Rams' overtures.
Southampton will lose their Premier League parachute payments as they are now in their third straight season in the Championship, while rumours of a takeover have so far failed to materialise.
Burley guided Southampton to the play-offs last season but the club's hopes of a money-spinning return to the Premier League ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat by Derby in the semi-final.
The Saints boss said: "After last season finished we had to look at things, as any club without a backer does.
"We had no choice, we had to make sure things were right and then build for the new season."
Following an opening day 4-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace, Saints crashed out of the Carling Cup at the hands of League Two outfit Peterborough.
Burley said: "I've sold my two best players and as a manager you get no thanks for that from the fans, which was obvious on Saturday.
"There has been a lot of speculation but I don't want to sell Kenwyne. I don't think we'll have to and hopefully we can move on."