Bernard Morley offered a withering assessment of Chester’s 4-1 defeat at FC United of Manchester in his side’s final pre-season fixture of the summer.

The Blues were outclassed by Northern Premier League opposition, shipping three times in the opening 32 minutes and conceding again after the break.

A humbling night at Broadhurst Park came just four days before Chester’s National League North opener at Boston United on Saturday, with joint-manager Morley scathing in his criticism of his players.

Speaking to the club's media team after the game, he said: “We looked like a Northern Premier side and they looked like a National League North side because they were streets ahead in every department.

“It pains me to say that, but I have to be honest. If I’m not, the people who watched the game tonight - who’ve made their own observations - will say I’m disguising what we are.

“We’re honest, don’t ever question our integrity because what I see, I say. That was as bad as I’ve ever seen - worse than the 8-1 at Blyth last season - that’s how bad it was tonight.

“As managers we’ve fielded a side who didn’t look like they cared.”

The below-par Blues looked shellshocked as goals from Charlie Ennis (2) and Michael Donohue put them 3-0 behind before Jamie Morgan reduced arrears late in the first half.

Six substitutions during the break failed to inspire a Chester comeback in the second half as the hosts extended their lead just after the hour mark when United's Chris Doyle rose above defender James Jones to head home.

At a loss to explain Chester’s capitulation after a generally positive pre-season schedule, Morley refused to attribute individual blame and insisted the result was a collective failure.

He added: “Maybe we’ve come here with a bit of an ego against a team in the league below, and I’m not going to make any excuses about the pitch, which was big and wet and every player’s dream.

“They wanted to get on the ball more than us, their movement was better, their rotation was miles better. They split from the back, they played through the thirds better, they looked fitter than us.

“It’s given us an absolute headache. I do care about pre-season results and I’ve just said to the lads ‘put your hand up if you don’t care about tonight’s result’ and they didn’t - they just sat there with their heads down.

“I know for a fact that people watching will blame it on the back three. The fourth goal where James Jones has been beaten at the back post can be blamed on the back three, but I think for the other three goals there were gaps everywhere and they’re running through, passed around us and scored.

“I’m not saying our back three were great, but the midfield three were non-existent in the first half. They’re decision-making was poor and they ran through us.

“I don’t like digging players out but in terms of what we are in central areas - it’s not good enough.”

A miserable first half for the visitors was compounded by an apparent groin injury to striker Akwasi Asante, who walked straight off the pitch without consulting with Chester’s bench before he was replaced by George Waring.

Morley admitted to being baffled by the actions of the Dutch striker, who has endured an injury-plagued spell with the club since joining in January.

Discussing Asante’s reaction to his latest setback, Morley said:“I’m being told he’s got a groin strain. He might have been embarrassed that he’s picked up another injury. I’m not going to stand here and dig him out; if he’s injured, he’s injured.

“But the lad needs to go away and have a good think about what he is and what he can bring to this football club in terms of his contract. I don’t expect any player to tear their contract up, but as manager of Chester I need players to work hard for me and players who want to win like Johnno (Anthony Johnson) and I do.”