Graham Barrow insists Wigan Athletic undersold themselves this season by a number of points and places in the table.
In the final reckoning, Latics finished nine points adrift of the safety mark, with only 42 on the board from their 46 games.
You’ve got to do something to bring the whole thing together, and every team that’s been successful will have a story to tellGraham Barrow
Perhaps more tellingly – and despite winning the League One title last term – they finished 16 points behind Barnsley, who won promotion through the play-offs, and 10 behind a Burton side that had the smallest budget in the second tier.
Both Gary Caldwell and Warren Joyce paid for failing to get the most out of their hand, while Barrow was unable to turn around the ship in the last couple of months.
“I’m not saying we should have been in the top 10, but in the nine games I’ve been in charge, we should have been roundabout Burton and above,” acknowledged Barrow, who is now waiting to hear if he will be staying on as part of the backroom staff.
“Fair play to Nigel (Clough) - he probably deserves manager of the year for what he’s done at Burton, to be fair.
“But there’s a lot more to this game than what meets this eye.
“Some people won’t condone this, but you hear the tale about Sheffield United not winning for the first five games, and then the team bus stops off for a drink, to build the camaraderie.
“Everybody’s doing the same training, everybody’s got the same sports scientists, everybody has good coaches and stuff.
“You’ve got to do something to bring the whole thing together, and every team that’s been successful will have a story to tell.
“When we won at Burton in January, we were all in Nigel’s office after the game.
“He might not like me saying this, but they were planning a get-together on the Tuesday after the game.
“I’ve done it myself – with Harry McNally at Chester - and you sometimes have to do these things.
“It brings people together, makes them want to go above and beyond like sometimes you have to do in football.
“The staff who have been with me in the last few weeks have tried to do that.
“We turned down a trip to La Manga during the last international break, because we didn’t want to waste the club’s money.
“We worked hard on getting the lads together on the training ground – and it almost paid off.”