Marcus Bignot admitted Chester took a ‘step backwards’ after their second-half humiliation at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge.
The dismal defending – which harked back to Jon McCarthy’s ill-fated spell as manager – enabled the Daggers to runaway with a 4-0 victory courtesy of goals from Sam Ling, Luke Howell and a brace from Michael Cheek, and also saw Corey Whitely put a penalty wide.
For Chester, who remain three points adrift of safety, this was a capitulation in the second-half and some diabolical defending saw them booed off at full-time, with Bignot admitting his side disintergrated both ‘physically and mentally’ after the interval.
“It's mixed emotions to be honest, we can't forget the first 45 minutes which we put in, I was really pleased with that,” he said.
“Going into the second-half we were full of confidence but it was 45 minutes too far for us physically and mentally.
“We had our moment of luck when they missed the penalty, but we've shot ourselves in the foot by conceding straight after and you could see the confidence drained out of them both physically and mentally thereafter.
“It has been a physically and demanding week. It's about us and this performance (second-half) is an old trait that has reared it's ugly head. It hasn't raised it's head many times since we've been here, that's twice now it's happened when we've seen the group lose confidence.
“But it's been a challenging week, we've had performances and been close to getting results away.
“Again, coming into the second-half it seemed it was going to go that way and it was a case of were we going to get a point or three, and I don't think anyone saw that coming second-half, but it has and now this break comes at a really good time for us.
“For 45 minutes today it's been a step back. Let's not forget the first-half when we played well but it was 45 minutes too far for us, but I am not making excuses because there is a manner in which you lose, and what they've done is let themselves down second-half and reverted back to type, and that is the reason I am here speaking to you today because of second-half performances like that.
“It can't become a common theme and suggestions say it's a blip and we've always bounced back, we've not lost two back-to-back league so it's now important we don't lose against Solihull Moors.
“More importantly for the confidence of the group, it's important we get a much-needed three points.”
Bignot accepts Chester are in for a ‘long, hard rest of the season’ if they are to turn their fortunes around and avoid relegation from the National League.
“This is the group we've got and the group we are working with,” he explained.
“We've seen enough to suggest we've got enough here. We've never changed in saying that it's going to be a long hard season.
“It isn't going to change and results this week show how close we are and how good we can be.
“We have to make sure we maintain the standards we showed in the first-half here and there's a lot of work that goes into that.
“This two week break is much needed both physically and mentally and when you are down there, it's more mental. It's been dented today but we have to make sure that's a blip and that's all it is.
“We're down to bare bones and this break should do us the world of good in terms of having options, getting players fit, having balance and strength and depth in the team.
“We know this is going down to the final month of the season, we know that. We can make really good strides forward with these next run of games in December.
“Getting players back is huge, look at Leyton Orient where our entire bench with not one first-team appearance on it. Today we've had to put a centre-half up top because of no forwards available.
“It's a welcome break, we will get key players back and we'll be ready come Solihull.”
See full story in the Chester Leader