Southampton manager Mark Wotte admitted the club's off-field problems were affecting his players after their meek 2-0 surrender at Sheffield Wednesday sent them sliding towards the Coca-Cola Championship trapdoor.
The Saints appeared like startled rabbits caught in the headlights, gifting Owls striker Luke Varney a goal in each half through two glaring pub-team blunders.
The south coast club lie second-bottom, three points from safety with two games remaining after crashing to their 20th league defeat of the season and Wotte said: "The insecurity isn't helping the players. If a club's struggling it's not going to help on the pitch. But I thought we could switch off from that and after the Crystal Palace game I thought we could do a good job."
He added: "It would be a little bit cheap if I blamed the result on the off-field problems - I don't want to do that. The second goal for instance was just bad defending from two experienced centre-backs.
"But individual players are concerned about their future and it's better to have a secure future so they can play with more confidence.
"But that's the way it is at Southampton Football Club. That makes my job more difficult of course because you have to deal not only with the football, but also a lot of things around it."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms