McAteer and manager John Barnes were given their marching orders on Friday following a below-par start to the domestic campaign.
Tranmere are currently third from bottom in the table after winning just two of their opening 11 league matches, while they crashed out of the JPT Trophy in midweek to Bury.
Considering the new season is just three months old McAteer feels the club's new management team were not given enough time to stamp their authority at Prenton Park.
The former Sunderland, Blackburn and Liverpool ace feels their efforts were hindered by the club's shrinking budget - and that the hierarchy made a panic decision.
"It came as a bit of a shock to be fair, I think to the pair of us," he told Sky Sports News. "It was 12 to 14 games in, I don't really think that we had a fair crack of the whip.
"I know some results might have suggested otherwise, but it was just disappointing.
"I don't think we got a fair crack of the whip from the fans. I think the chairman succumbed to the pressure off the fans.
"It hasn't really sunk in. I've had a couple of days to think about it. I think it was a poor decision at the end of the day."