Cobblers boss Chris Wilder was delighted with his side’s performance in their pre-season friendly against Derby County on Saturday afternoon – despite losing the game 1-0.
Northampton enjoyed the bulk of possession for large periods but struggled to turn that into clear-cut chances – aside from Marc Richards’ penalty miss – as Derby produced the one real moment of quality when Andreas Weimann’s neat turn and pass played through Johnny Russell, who fired home emphatically.
Despite their lack of cutting edge, however, Wilder was full of praise for his side’s performance.
“I thought we were excellent,” he said afterwards. “We were up against top players who have played in the Premier League and want to play in the Premier League and it was a real test – a different type of test to what we’ve had so far – but I felt we held our own and it was an even game played in good spirit.
“I think we possibly dropped off the pace from 35 to 45 minutes and then again from 75 to 90 but we put a lot of energy and effort into the game.
“We missed a penalty and had other goalscoring opportunities and I thought it was a real competitive game and one we have taken a lot out of.”
“It was a game that we can take a lot from in terms of the way we want to go about it and the way we want to press and play at a high tempo – we did all those things.”Chris Wilder
Wilder was particularly happy with the way his side pressed Derby and won the ball back on a number of occasions, which allowed them to dominate possession for large spells despite their higher quality Championship opponents.
He added: “The most pleasing aspect was the endeavour and the pressing.
“We want to play a pressing game and we want to get after the ball, which we did, and we gave them problems that they had to solve because we got after the ball, but if you do that for 90 minutes then you have to be fit so the key for us is to kick-on with that.
“I also thought we played some good stuff and there were a lot of good individual performances.
“I didn’t see an unbelievable amount of chances for them and there wasn’t an unbelievable amount for us but it was a game that we can take a lot from in terms of the way we want to go about it and the way we want to press and play at a high tempo – we did all those things.
“We went try to get the ball back as soon as possible and we did that with some success. We’re all at different levels in pre-season so all I can do is talk about my team and I was delighted with their effort and attitude.
“We had a lot of the ball and we have a lot of good players who can make things happen and create. I was pleased with all our work.
“Of course we want to score goals and I believe we will but we had a fair share of the game – it wasn’t one-sided or one-way traffic and I think we can be pleased with the way we went about it against a side who I think will be at the top of the Championship.”