Curle accepts Cobblers must show more ‘adventure’ and improve quality in final third

Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Keith Curle will ‘not shy away’ from Cobblers’ creative problems in the final third after they failed to score for the second successive home game on Saturday.

Held 0-0 by 17th-placed Crawley Town after losing 4-0 to Colchester two weeks earlier, Northampton have now netted just four goals in their past five matches, one scored by a defender (Aaron Pierre), one by a midfielder (Timi Elsnik) and two by striker Sam Hoskins.

We need to work more on the creative side of it in the final third. There needs to be an improvement, individually, collectively and recruitment-wise.

They’ve bagged 41 goals in total this season, the 10th most in League Two, but Curle knows his team can’t sacrifice attacking intent in trying to keep things tight at the back, at least not in the long-term.

“We need be more clinical, more creative and braver in the final third and make good decisions,” he admitted after Saturday’s dreary goalless draw.

“With your flair players, when things don’t come off for them, they have a role and responsibility within the team that will earn us a point or earn us a clean sheet, which is the minimum.

“But we need to work more on the creative side of it in the final third. There needs to be an improvement, individually, collectively and recruitment-wise.”

It was not just the shortage of goals that concerned fans against Crawley on Saturday, but also the lack of ambition to try and win the game, with Curle waiting until the 85th minute to bring on a striker.

“I thought we looked a threat from set-pieces with some good deliveries into the box, we just needed that break,” he added. “We created the better chances in the first-half and if one of those goes in, the dynamics of the game change.

“But I’m not going to shy away from it, ultimately we need to be better in the final third. I’m pleased with a clean sheet and pleased to get the point that was on offer before the game.

“But we need to be more creative in midfield, we need to be more clinical in the final third and we have to be more adventurous.”