Ipswich manager Paul Cook shouldered all of the blame for his side’s continued poor run of form after their play-off bid was effectively ended by a 3-0 defeat to Sky Bet League One strugglers Northampton.
Ipswich are five points adrift of the top six with only four games to go, having now failed to score in their last five matches.
Peter Kioso scored twice in the first half for Northampton before Ryan Watson’s late goal wrapped up an emphatic victory.
Cook said: “There will be no criticism for the players from me now because we’re past all that and the supporters don’t need to listen to me.
“That’s 12 games for me in charge now and I would have expected myself to do a lot better irrespective of any player on the pitch.
“The first level of criticism comes to me and comes to my staff and I don’t want the players to get any criticism.
“The fans have watched us for long enough now and the pain and frustration has been there for a long time and unfortunately it hasn’t been good enough under myself.
“I won’t be criticising the players tonight – I will shoulder the blame.
“We started the game so well, we were bright and sharp, but we got the disappointment of conceding and that disappointment for a young group of men is hard to come back from when you’re on the pitch.
“I don’t think the play-offs are going to happen now.”
The Cobblers remain in relegation trouble despite the win. They remain four points from safety with only three games to play.
“It was a good win,” said Northampton interim manager Jon Brady. “The two goals came from two set pieces and that was something we worked on in terms of trying to free up Pete in the box.
“The delivery was on point and he timed his arrival well and I thought it was a very strong performance in the first half.
“We stepped on when we needed to, we closed off lines and we got in a few times in the first half and we also had to weather a few little moments.
“We came out in the second half and we sunk too deep but that’s the story of our season a little bit, so we had to change our shape and that allowed us to press on a bit higher.
“I thought thereafter we looked a lot better and it was a good win for us.
“Results didn’t go our way but we will keep fighting and if we win on Saturday and other teams lose, we will be only one point behind and can put the frighteners on them.”