Jon Whitney felt tonight’s 3-0 home defeat by relegation-threatened Rochdale was a game too far for his players.
Goals from Jim McNulty, Ian Henderson and Mihai Dobre gave Dale a convincing win.
“We looked like we didn’t have any legs tonight,” said the boss.
“They looked fresher and sharper than us. I think it was a game too far for a couple of our players.
“Rochdale can play with that energy but we couldn’t play with the energy we usually do. No excuses – we looked very lethargic and leggy.
“The penalty might have changed things. I’m not going to throw the lads under the bus because they’ve just been kicked in the team.
“It was probably a game too far for us.”
Whitney also backed Erhun Oztumer - who missed a penalty with the score at 2-0 - to respond.
"I've said to Erhun you can't be too high after a hat-trick and really down after that," he said.
"What makes good players is what you do next - it's your reactions to disappointments in life.
"I want to see a reaction from him - and I'm sure we will.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves because we've got to go to Shrewsbury, who are having a really good season.
"We've got to be proactive and move forward."