Cobblers boss Rob Page has accused his players of being ‘too honest’ after their 2-1 home defeat to Bradford City on Monday.
Northampton stumbled to an eighth defeat in 10 games in all competitions against the Bantams at Sixfields despite taking a half-time lead through Alex Revell’s header.
But with the Cobblers defending deep in the second-half, Bradford bossed proceedings and exerted intense pressure on their hosts which was eventually rewarded.
Mark Marshall pulled them level before Jody Hiwula’s close-range finish four minutes from time sealed the victory, condemning Town to a fourth successive home loss.
Page said: “I’m very disappointed. We were on the front foot first-half and I thought we coped with how they played.
“They made two changes at half-time which improved them and we know what Marshall and Hanson are all about.
“The changes made them better and we lost Aaron Phillips who pulled his hamstring so we had to put Zander Diamond on to compete with them.
“What disappoints me most today is that sometimes you have a group of players that are too honest and who want to defend and sometimes they want to camp on the edge of the box but sometimes attack is the best form of defence.
“I said to them that their honesty will cost you against good teams that have quality to break you down and Bradford certainly did that.
“We just invited pressure. I was screaming on the sidelines to us up the pitch and I wanted to get Revs and Rico up there so when we got the ball we had somebody competing to stop Bradford having wave after wave of attack.
“We allowed them to do it for 45 minutes which is really really disappointing.”
Page insisted it wasn’t a tactic to sit so deep and invite pressure, instead saying it was down to a defensive mindset.
He added: “I always ask one of the front men, when we play two up top, to drop in on the deepest midfielder.
“What I don’t ask is when we’ve cleared our lines for them to stand on the edge of the box and continue to defend.
“Then we’ve got to get back to our shape as soon as possible so when we do get to clear the ball we have somebody competing with the two centre-halves and it’s not wave after wave of attack.
“We were inviting pressure and we got punished by a team who are fourth in the league.
“We got beat by one goal on Saturday and we got beat by one goal today. We’re punishing ourselves by the way we approach it and we’ve got to learn from that.”