ALAN Wright admitted that Northwich Victoria’s off-field problems had affected his players’ performance on the pitch in Saturday’s heavy defeat at FC United of Manchester.
Vics’ co-manager told the Guardian that the visitors’ week – and their season if an appeal against expulsion from the Northern Premier League fails on Tuesday – had ended with a whimper.
“If it is to be our last game, then we’d have preferred to go out with more of a bang,” he said.
“As soon as we went behind, the white flag went up.”
The former Aston Villa full back revealed that his team had talked about how they had struggled to focus knowing they have been banned from competing play-offs for promotion despite finishing second in the standings.
FC United took advantage, running out emphatic 4-1 winners.
Wright said: “I feel for them because they’ve worked hard all season to finish second in the league.
“Yet it looks like they won’t get a chance to take part in the play-offs through no fault of their own.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, nor do the players.
"It’s difficult for them, and they said as much after the game.
“I understand why they might have questioned whether to give everything.”
Substitute Michael Clarke scored in stoppage time to avoid Vics being on the end of their heaviest league defeat of the season, but by then the contest had long been over.
Wright, while unhappy with Vics’ display, saved praise for the Rebels.
“FC United are the best team I’ve seen play against us since I came to the club; how they are not guaranteed a play-offs place already is a surprise to me,” he said.
“We were ragged, and couldn’t cope with the movement of their attacking players.
“I thought we were second best all over the pitch; they were sharper and brighter than we were, and played with a greater energy.
“We lacked passion and desire, which disappointed me.”
It took Vics’ players to tell Wright, plus co-boss Martin Foyle, that the Premier Division play-offs semi finals had been postponed until next weekend.
Wright added: “There’s an awful lot gone on away from the pitch, most of which out of our hands.
“We only found out after the game, because they players let us know, that the play-offs have been put back “It’s hard to plan what to do this week, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the appeal.”