Huddersfield defender Chris Lowe admitted this has been the toughest season of his career as the Terriers face up to relegation from the Premier League.
The drop was finally official with defeat to Crystal Palace on March 30 but in reality had been inevitable for much longer, with the Yorkshire side having collected only 14 points from 33 matches.
The 29-year-old Lowe, who joined Huddersfield on a free transfer in 2016 and helped them earn promotion, said confirmation of relegation had done little to change the mood around the club given they had known it was coming for so long.
“The last four months have been really hard,” the German said. “Mentally it’s the hardest period of my footballing career. Sometimes it is really hard to deal with properly.
“Nobody should feel that we don’t care about what happened in the last few months.
“In the end it is our job and we have to try to deal with these situations as well as we can but you take it home with you. You can’t just drive away.
“You always think about the reasons why we are where we are, all that kind of stuff. It is difficult, but now the most important thing is to get some good performances in over the last five games and get some momentum for next season.
“For some of us, they will be the last Premier League games of our lives so we have to try to enjoy it a little bit as well.”
Enjoying it may be difficult on Saturday, when Huddersfield face the daunting prospect of a trip to Tottenham’s new stadium.
They will face a Spurs side without injured striker Harry Kane but with plenty of incentive to capitalise on their visitors’ woes as they scrap for a top-four place.
The Terriers may have little to play for but manager Jan Siewert has demanded his players represent the club with pride, and Lowe admits he and his team-mates are playing for their futures – whether that be convincing Siewert of their value or putting themselves in the shop window.
“Everyone has got different reasons,” he said. “One player wants to represent himself to another club, another wants to show the manager he is ready for next season.
“Everyone is different but hopefully we can show at the weekend that as a team we are still willing to fight.”
Asked where his own future may lie the left-back, who has one year left on his contract, said: “I don’t know to be honest. I haven’t thought about that stuff.
“For me it’s all about the next game at the weekend, to try to make the supporters proud. That for me is the main focus.”