Dennis Greene blames tiredness for his Boston United side slumping to a 4-0 defeat at King’s Lynn Town.
After watching the Pilgrims play their ninth match in the space of just three weeks, he described last night’s clash at The Walks as ‘a game too far’.
But he is determined to get his players back to their best in time for the start of the season - arguing his squad are just knackered, not ready for the knackers yard.
“It wasn’t good, was it?” the United manager said after the final whistle.
“If you look back, we’ve played Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday with a thin squad for a few weeks.
“When I looked at it tonight, our pressing wasn’t good enough, our energy levels weren’t good enough.
“Maybe we were just tired. Barring the Biggleswade game, we’ve done well in all the friendlies.
“Maybe this was just a game too far.”
It certainly seemed that way last night as it was the Evo-Stik Southern League side who dominated for most of the contest.
Jordan Yong scored two powerful strikes and also earned a penalty - via the hand of Ian Ross - which George Thomson converted.
After the interval Andy Hall prodded home Lynn’s fourth and final finish.
In truth, were it not for a handful of fine stops from 16-year-old keeper Sam Vince, the score could have been worse.
Vince, James Reed and Spencer Weir-Daley were all drafted into Greene’s squad in place of Ashley Timms, Marc Newsham and Carl Piergianni, who is carrying a slight knock.
But there’s still little room to argue that the first XI named on the teamsheet should have put up more of a fight against a side below them in the ladder, no matter how well the Linnets performed.
But Greene believes there’s no accounting for tiredness.
He added: “You can see the players’ persona, the warm-up was pretty lethargic.
“I’m not making excuses, I’m just going from what I see.
“They looked tired and they lacked quality.”
The Pilgrims manager has promised his squad a ‘light session’ when they report back for training on Thursday, hoping they’ll be back to their best for Saturday’s Lincolnshire Senior Cup contest against Gainsborough Trinity (KO 3pm).
That will be followed by the Skrill North curtain opener at Stokport County seven days later.
“We’ve got training Thursday, a week’s rest next week and only one game in 10 days,” Greene continued.
“So, hopefully we can rest them up and get the energy levels back.
“It’s not good to lose 4-0 to a team in a lower league. It’s never good to lose a football match.
“But, hopefully, it’s one we can just throw out the window.”