Cobblers boss Keith Curle admits it is ‘frustrating’ to watch his players produce the good in training but then fail to step up to the plate when gameday comes around.
Curle has spoken previously about the challenges of trying to coax the best out of players when it matters most - on matchdays - and it seems he believes that remains a problem with the current Town squad.
The Cobblers drew 0-0 at home to Crawley on Saturday and have only three wins in their last 19 games, a run that dates back to November and leaves them 16th in League Two, 10 points above relegation.
“It’s frustrating when you see the work that we do with the players and then when it comes to gameday, the decisions and the quality they show through the week eludes them and they take the wrong option,” said Curle.
“You’ll find players who do that are League Two players and that’s why I mention about the recruitment because we need players who will turn up on gameday and understand their roles and deliver and perform for the team.
“Up and down the country there are a lot of players that look very good on a Thursday and a Friday but on a gameday they make the wrong choices and the wrong decisions and what we need to do is encourage the players to make the right decisions at the right times.
We need players who will turn up on gameday and understand their roles and deliver and perform for the team.
“Those times are on gameday. There were times on Saturday when we had the opportunity to enter the final third but the quality wasn’t there and we made the wrong decisions.”
Asked how he goes about getting his players to perform in matches, Curle added: “A lot of is about repetition and doing the right things throughout the week. We want a learning environment and we’ll do the video analyses where we’ll highlight the good, the bad and the ugly.
“That’s what we try and do. We want to create an environment where players go out onto the pitch without the fear of making a mistake but with the understanding of their jobs and what they need to do.”