Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet admitted his side deserved to be beaten at Wakefield Trinity on Sunday.
A shock 30-12 loss at relegation-threatened Trinity means that the Warriors are now highly unlikely to deny St Helens the League Leaders’ Shield.
They also still have work to do to ensure a top-two finish, and progression to the play-off semi-finals, with a three-point advantage heading into the final four matches.
“Wakefield started the better team and they managed the game very well,” said Peet.
“They dictated the play of the game and we didn’t quite put it together for long enough. They forced a lot of repeat sets, but we had poor execution and poor ill-discipline.
“We were chasing the game here. I knew we were second best today.”
Peet revealed why that might have been: “A combination of factors, a determined Wakefield team who fought their way to victory and they deserve to be commended for their intelligence.
“The lads had a crack and we fought hard until the end. It was more a case of execution, whether poor tackle technique or Wakefield defending well on the edges.”
Wigan were hit by a late withdrawal from Morgan Smithies, whilst Liam Farrell wasn’t included again due to a calf injury.
“Morgan’s calf tightened up in the warm-up and we decided not to push it, so we had to make a late change, while Faz (Liam Farrell) wasn’t quite ready,” said Peet.