A content Keith Curle was satisfied with the Cobblers' performance in Saturday's 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Premier League Sheffield United at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Chris Wilder's outfit sealed a comfortable victory thanks to two first-half penalties from skipper Oliver Norwood, but the Town boss was pleased with his team's shape and discipline.
It has been a tough week for the Cobblers players, with the clash against the Blades coming hot on the heels of Tuesday night's 4-0 loss at the hands of Championship side Sheffield Wednesday - but that is exactly the way Curle wanted it.
"It was an excellent run-out, and we are very grateful to Sheffield United and to Chris for bringing his team down," said the Cobblers boss. "It gives us the opportunity to test ourselves against the elite of the industry we are in.
"I thought we started the game quite well and got on the front foot and had opportunities, but I think the first penalty was slightly disappointing.
"There were little triggers within the game, because we still have a new group, that we need to work on, and there are things within our attacking play that I still think can be a springboard and a trigger to get us into the final third.
"But we are respectful that in the past week we have played a Championship and a Premier League team, so we needed to be organised, keep our shape and try and delay as much as possible, and deny them getting that many goalscoring opportunities, which we did.
"We have conceded two penalties, and you take the scoreline 2-0, and you think 'yes, that's not a bad barometer and starting point to go on'."
The Cobblers have now lost by an aggregate of 6-0 in two home twice in the space of a matter of days, but Curle isn't concerned - and insist it's how the team performs on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two season on August 3 is all that matters.
"Some people will want to see their team win at home in pre-season, and yes I fully understand that," said the Town manager.
"But the first League game of the season at home, I wouldn't mind winning that one."
The Cobblers continue their pre-season programme on Tuesday night when they travel to National League North side Brackley Town, and they then host league one Milton Keynes Dons on Friday.