Cobblers boss Keith Curle says his side must perform with better ‘tempo’ and more ‘purpose’ after they played ‘training ground football’ during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with lowly Yeovil Town.
It was notable that Town made a conscious effort to keep the ball down and pass it around in Saturday’s game, with Dean Bowditch deployed in a deep central midfield role.
But whilst Bowditch and others played some nice passes, the Cobblers were too predictable in their play, either forced to go backwards or sideways before aimlessly sending the ball forward.
There was a slight improvement in the second-half as they fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 but Curle, who previously accused his players of not being able to do the basics, was not impressed.
“We can’t give teams a two-goal headstart,” he said. “The fundamentals of what we want to do and where we want to play are not right.
“Yes, we rolled the ball around but not at the right tempo and we played balls for the sake of playing balls. We want to have a forward-thinking mentality and purpose in our play.
“Otherwise you just become a team that just plays training ground football in and around the halfway line with no purpose in your possession.”
West Ham loanee Joe Powell, making his first start in over a month, experienced a busy game on Saturday, guilty of giving away an early penalty before he had a hand in both Cobblers goals.
“Joe showed good awareness for the first goal when he slid Powelly in,” Curle added. “He’s got that when operating in the final third. He just needs to work on his responsibilities in the middle of the pitch and his defensive duties.
“He’s a young man who’s stepping up from playing U23s football and grasping what’s needed to play professional league football.
“It’s been a good experience for him and George Cox is another player who’s come from a Premier League club and throughout the week he has shown Premier League ability.
“He’s finding his way of being able to express that. He’s got great delivery, a good left foot and he just needs to stay in the games longer and have more belief in his own ability.
“When the lad gets into the final third, he can put very good quality balls into the box and I didn’t think we got him in there enough. Our ball retention wasn’t good enough and he didn’t get in the right areas.
“He can cause problems but he’s bought into what we’re trying to do and he’s added qualities to the squad.”