Phoenix chairman John Towers said he had no regrets about the way Rover had been run over the past five years.

And he insisted Longbridge workers were not angry about the financial rewards received by the four Phoenix directors.

Critics of the Phoenix four did not represent the views of the workforce, he said.

Speaking to The Birmingham Post, he said: ?What we see here is a realisation on the part of the employees that we have put our personal assets at risk in managing this business through five years, we have put a lot of hard work into that process, and yes we have received rewards for that.

?But we don?t see that anger reflected in Longbridge.?

Asked if he felt any guilt about the fate of MG Rover, he said: ?I feel devastated about the fact that we have been stopped at this final hurdle. I don?t feel guilty about the process we have been through.

?Wind the clock five years back and I?d have done the same.? Mr Towers said the directors had worked hard to try to obtain a deal with Chinese firm SAIC. ?If you talk to the guys here you understand how many hours a day we?ve been working, and then of course there was the trip to Shanghai as well, where we gained the ability to have about two hours sleep each night and then get on with the process.?

He added: ?We?ve issued a statement which says we?re continuing to support the administrators in this process.

?We are going to support the process of trying to establish an outcome where there is car making at Longbridge because we do think there is that possibility.?

The four directors of MG Rover?s owners, Phoenix Venture Holdings, earlier said it was a ?desperately sad? day for everyone involved in the company.

In a joint statement, Mr Towers, Peter Beale, John Edwards and Nick Stevenson said ?every avenue? had been explored to avoid redundancies.

They added: ?Clearly, not enough progress has been made on this to provide comfort for the administrators, and for the DTI, to continue the payment process that began last week.

?In May 2000, when Rover was saved from BMW?s liquidation process, a lot of people said that the business could not last for more than 14 months.

?The management and employees of MG Rover have defied those conventional predictions and worked tirelessly to create a positive result.

?Almost five years later, and within weeks of what we believe to be its natural long-term outcome, it is devastating to be stopped at the final hurdle.?

The Bishop for Birmingham, the Rt Rev Dr John Sentamu, was to become a trustee of a fund to help MG Rover workers, along with local historian Carl Chinn and Nigel Petrie, the firm?s non-executive director.