James Coppinger says that Doncaster Rovers’ relegation is not down to a lack of effort.
But rather a lack of quality.
Coppinger - who this season became Rovers’ leading all-time appearance maker - has more reason than most to empathise with the frustrated fans whom he has shared a rollercoaster 12 years at the club.
But the 35-year-old would take umbrage with anyone accusing the players of not trying hard enough.
“I understand the fans’ frustration but it’s not lack of effort that’s got us relegated,” said Coppinger.
“It’s probably lack of quality.
“We made too many wrong decisions at the wrong times.
“We’ve got to improve on that. Next season we’ve got to get rid of what’s happened and start afresh.”
Coppinger is unable to pin down a reason for the club’s pitiful campaign but says it is now the responsibility of the players who remain at Rovers to put right their wrongs next term.
“I don’t think anyone can really put their finger on one reason,” he said.
“Obviously it’s the manager’s job to go away and analyse the season and come back next season stronger and bounce back and get promoted.
“It’s not going to be easy, League Two is a difficult league. But the lads who are still here have got to go into next season and put what we’ve done right.
“A of bigger clubs have done what we’ve done and bounced back. Bournemouth were nearly relegated out of the Football League and look where they are now.
“There’s a lot of things you can look at and draw upon, things you can take from other clubs and people who’ve been in this situation, and that’s what we’ll be doing.”