Crystal Palace are suffering from a Carling Cup hangover according to manager Dougie Freedman following his side's 1-1 draw with Coventry, with Sky Blues boss Andy Thorn ruing an early penalty.
The Eagles looked to be cruising to only their third win in the seven games since crashing out to Cardiff on penalties when Darren Ambrose put them in front from the penalty spot inside five minutes.
But his side tired visibly towards the end allowing second half substitute Cody McDonald to earn a draw for Coventry with just 10 minutes left to stretch their unbeaten run at the Ricoh Arena to three.
And Freedman insists his side are running on empty following the stamina sapping 120 minutes against the Welsh side in January.
Freedman said: "We looked really good in the first 20 minutes and looked like we could go and score two or three goals on the counter attack.
"Overall a draw is probably the correct result because obviously I am disappointed to lose the lead in the last 10 minutes but we have to give credit to Coventry because they showed good fighting spirit and that just might keep them up.
"The cup run has probably meant we have dropped a few points because of fatigue, that has not helped us and it has left us with a little bit of a gap from the top six but we are trying, we are getting points each week just not enough to close the cap.
"We have paid for it but we loved every minute of it playing away at Manchester United and reaching the semi-finals and we wouldn't change it but it might have just caught up with us."
While Coventry manager Thorn was also happy with a point he was less impressed with the decision to award a penalty for the Palace opener.
Referee Mark Brown took his time to decide whether Nathan Cameron's foul on Chris Martin warranted a spot kick drawing an angry response from Thorn.
"It was the worst possible start for us," he said. "Apart from that I thought we did well, we knocked the ball about OK and I thought we deserved our draw.
"What I will say is the amount of dithering that went on to give the penalty, it was almost like a circus in the end.
"You have got to be 110% sure when you give a penalty. The referee went to go and ask the linesman in the end and the referee was closer so surely if you are going to give you have got to be certain."