Macarthur coach Ante Milicic says injury and sickness finally caught up with his players as their top six hopes ended with a 3-0 defeat against Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
The Bulls were flying at the start of the season as they sat unbeaten at the top of the A-League ladder, before things started to go wrong.
Macarthur did not play a game between Boxing Day and February and were then faced with a hectic fixture schedule to get back on track.
Just to make matters worse, Milicic’s players were struggling to regain full fitness after recovering from illness. They could not hit top form again and the Bulls boss says the break cost them big time.
"I know my group, I know where we're at. I'm with them daily and I saw the resilience that they had," Milicic told reporters after the defeat.
"It's one thing having a break but it's another to have a break with COVID. Our players couldn't get back to those fitness levels. When you've got a congested fixture list and on top of that you have too many quality players missing for too long, it catches up with you."
Milicic last week announced he will be stepping down as coach of the Bulls to return to Croatia and it sounds as though coaching another team is the furthest thing from his mind right now.
"I want to go to Croatia. My background is from a lovely island called Hvar," Milicic added. "I don't want to look at a laptop, I don't want to watch games, I don't want to take phone calls from players, coaches, agents.
"I want to watch teams that I enjoy watching as a fan. I want to watch good quality games at a nice time slot if I do watch football."