Former Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov says the club's players must take responsibility for their dismal season.
Villa have been relegated from the Barclays Premier League and will finish bottom of the table after losing their last nine games.
There is still no permanent manager in place, the club have suspended striker Gabriel Agbonlahor after national newspaper allegations concerning his conduct, while directors David Bernstein and Mervyn King resigned on Monday.
Petrov said: "I think the players weren't performing. There has been a lot of speculation, a lot of criticism - but you can't just blame the chairman or the guy who signed the players.
"They need to take responsibility and make sure they bounce back. Sometimes, everything happens for a reason. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that they need to regroup."
Petrov joined Villa from Celtic in 2006 and in 2012 he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, suspending his career to have treatment which was ultimately successful. He retired from the game the following year.
Speaking at a charity golf day in Scotland for John Hartson's foundation, the Bulgarian continued: "It has not just been from this year. I think it has been a long, long process for Aston Villa.
"In the last four seasons it has been very close. Some of the seasons we have had luck, some seasons we had outstanding individual performances from players to save the club.
"But it seems our luck ran out this season and unfortunately they deserved to be be relegated.
"I think when one thing goes wrong, the other things start to go wrong - and I think everything went wrong this season.
"I think from the football, from the bottom to the top, everything was going wrong."
Villa supporters have criticised a lack of investment in players and Petrov agrees a failure to invest has cost them their place in the top flight.
The 36-year-old added: "They saw how (far) behind the other Premiership clubs they are."