Jon McCarthy says the blame for Chester FC’s woeful form since the turn of the year lies solely at his door.
The Blues boss watched his side throw away a 2-1 lead with seven minutes remaining on Monday to fall to a 3-2 loss at home to struggling Woking.
It was Chester’s 14th defeat in 19 Vanarama National League games and prolonged their wait for a home win to over four months.
The loss also means that Chester sit just four points above the relegation zone with two games remaining, meaning a nervous end to the season for Blues fans.
But McCarthy refused to blame his players for the way the season, which had promised so much just before Christmas as Chester rose to as high as seventh, has unravelled.
Said the Chester boss: “It’s me, okay. We’ve worked very hard and we’ve put good teams out but there’s loads of other issues. But it’s me, I’m at the head and I’m responsible, everything is me.
“I’ve got players who work hard for me and I work hard and come in and do everything right but it’s me. You accept responsibility when things are going well and you have to accept it when it’s not.
“At the moment it is time for me to go away and keep working. There is a whole raft of reasons but I am here, I commit to it and I put teams out every single week, it’s what I do. I pick the teams and I try and get results. I accept responsibility.
“They’ve not let me down. My players go out and they work for me and they train and give me everything. My players have not let me down and they have not let this football club down. They have put this football club into a good position, a position where we just need to finish it off. I don’t want anybody criticising the players. If you want to criticise me, fine, but not the players.”
Chester travel to Sutton United on Saturday (3pm) knowing a win will secure their league status with a game to spare.
Chester’s far superior goal difference and a four-point cushion means they are an outside bet to tumble into the National League North, but Blues fans will be keen to avoid any last day drama such as was experienced in 2014 when they were relegated on the final day after a draw with Salisbury City before being reprieved in the summer owing to financial irregularities at Hereford United.
And while targeting maximum points from the next two games, McCarthy believes their total may already be high enough.
He said: “Do we need any? 52 points have never gone down and with our goal difference it is effectively 53, we might not even need any but we are going after six.”