Cobblers boss Keith Curle has warned it may take a little more time for his players to build the ‘understanding’ required to become a greater creative force after Saturday’s ineffective attacking performance against Milton Keynes Dons.
Town were beaten by Kieran Agard’s first-half goal as Dons deservedly claimed all three points after creating numerous opportunities while limiting their visitors to few sights of Lee Nicholls’ goal.
Nicholls produced a routine stop to keep out Andy Williams in the opening period and then saved well with his legs from Daniel Powell late on but, those chances aside, the Cobblers were mostly kept at arm’s-length by their in-form hosts.
Despite it being his first defeat since taking charge at the start of October, Curle felt there were enough encouraging aspects of his side’s performance, especially after the break, to be positive moving forward, with Town heading to bottom side Macclesfield on Tuesday evening.
“In the second-half we got more people forward but for some reason we started shooting from range in the first-half,” he said.
“We got into good positions and then picked the wrong options and took speculative shots, but that understanding will come and we will put more demands on players when they’re in those areas and the delivery that we want.
We just need that little bit of quality, which is in there, but it needs to be put together with hard work, effort, determination and willingness, and then when we get into areas and we need that quality, it will come.
“We just need that little bit of quality, which is in there, but it needs to be put together with hard work, effort, determination and willingness, and then when we get into areas and we need that quality, it will come.
“It’s an understanding of the areas of the pitch that we want to get into and then the delivery or the finish that’s required when we get into those areas.
“We’ve got some good technicians and we’re committing people into the box but we need to put demands on people.”
Curle was not afraid to chuck men forward in the closing 20 minutes of Saturday’s game, which regularly left the defence exposed to counter-attacks – but that’s a risk he’s willing to take.
He added: “We flooded the box, we got into good areas, we committed a lot of people forward and showed a desire to get something out of the game.
“OK, sometimes we left ourselves one against one or even two against one in the opposition’s favour but that’s our willingness to commit to get something out of the game.”
Cobblers took over 2,000 fans to Stadium MK for Saturday’s game but, despite generating terrific noise from the away end, they couldn’t roar their side on to victory.
“The support was phenomenal,” continued Curle. “They’ll be going away slightly disappointed with the outcome and the end result but they can be very proud of the effort, the desire and the commitment of the team.”