STEVE Price expressed his pride in his players despite going down to a 22-6 defeat at Salford Red Devils.

Just five days after their Challenge Cup Final win, a much-changed Wire side took the field at the AJ Bell Stadium and slipped to a sixth straight Super League loss.

Price made seven changes to his side overall and had his say on the moving of the game from a Sunday afternoon to a Thursday evening so soon after their Wembley date for the second season running.

“There is a player welfare issue, 100 per cent. That’s a no-brainer,” he said.

“We’ve played 27 Super League games and every round of the Challenge Cup.

“I have spoken to people about it but I’ll leave that between me and them.

“We all agreed to the contract. It is what it is.

“You’ve got to give credit where it’s due and Salford were too good tonight.

“I was proud of my men. We had some late changes from yesterday at training but we put the gloves on and had a good swing.

“It’s just disappointing that it’s two top-five teams and we couldn’t be at our best tonight for particular reasons.

“We looked clunky at times in our offence but I knew that would happen.”

The Wire could now end the weekend as low as fourth in Super League with two games of the regular season remaining.

Price says his players will be given time off before Wakefield Trinity visit The Halliwell Jones Stadium next Friday.

“It’s important that mental fatigue doesn’t creep in,” he said.

“We’ll have some time off to spend some quality time with our loved ones, then we’ll go again against Wakefield.

“We haven’t had a weekend off since we started this year. They deserve some time off as the intensity is only going up.

“I’m not even looking at the table. It’s about us getting back to form.

“It’s critical we get back to winning ways. Our goal is to be a top-two club and that’s there for us if we win our remaining games.”

Full video reaction to come