Manager Keith Curle has described the Cobblers as still being on ‘page one’ of his process and they’ll only progress to the next stage when they improve the ‘fundamentals’ in their play.
The Town boss was not impressed with elements of his side’s performance in Saturday’s draw against rivals Milton Keynes Dons when they were outplayed for large parts by the title-chasing visitors.
Dons, given a helping hand by referee Graham Scott’s decision to award a controversial early penalty, deservedly led 2-0 with just 12 minutes to play through goals from Alex Gilbey and Chuks Aneke either side of half-time.
Few could begrudge Paul Tisdale’s team their advantage on the balance of play up to that point, but a late surge from the Cobblers saw them nick a point with Andy Williams heading one back and then Junior Morias striking in injury-time.
However, Curle did not let the dramatic finish conceal his disappointment with certain aspects of Town’s performance – and he says they must improve to progress as a team.
“The players need those constant reminders and that’s why we’re still on page one – we still need to work on the foundations and the fundamentals,” he said.
There’s not so much a nervousness but there’s more to come from these players, I know there is because I see it on a weekly basis but then they get to gameday and it’s not natural for them.
“There’s no fear in the changing room but the fundamentals weren’t in place. As a football team, we’re still very much on page one.
“We have to improve the basics and the foundations. The more players that have the fundamentals in their play, the quicker we’ll progress as a football team.
“Then you need the characters and the demanding personalities in the dressing room and the foundations that they’ve got have got to rub off on other people who are sometimes a bit loose and a bit untidy.
“We need to drag them up to our level rather than get dragged down to their level. There’s a saying; if you can’t change players, change players. At the minute, we’re still very much on page one. We haven’t progressed.”
The Cobblers have produced glimpses of their full potential since Curle came in, but it’s getting a consistent tune out of the players which continues to be the challenge.
“There’s not so much a nervousness but there’s more to come from these players, I know there is because I see it on a weekly basis but then they get to gameday and it’s not natural for them,” Curle continued.
“There’s a good belief in the changing room and good desire and good spirit, which always helps. Now we need more demands because when people go slightly below, it can’t always be me. Sometimes it’s got to be from within.”