Cobblers boss Keith Curle has encouraged his players to show more ‘belief and bravery’ during games after praising their discipline and organisation in Saturday’s win at Crawley Town.
Northampton were rarely troubled by the Red Devils during their victory at the Broadfield Stadium, even before Ollie Palmer’s second-half red card, with goalkeeper David Cornell not having a save to make.
I like scoring goals to the extent that, if the opposition leave three up from our corner, I’m prepared to leave just one back.
But Cobblers were often disjointed as an attacking force and only came away from West Sussex with all three points thanks to Kevin van Veen’s well-taken penalty.
Although a sixth clean sheet of the season pleased Curle, he now wants his players to up their game in an attacking sense.
He said: “I love clean sheets! But likewise I like scoring goals to the extent that, if the opposition leave three up from our corner, I’m prepared to leave just one back.
“When we need to do then is to be brave on the ball, play three v two and three v one in wide areas and wait for the right opportunity because, if they’ve got three up and three out and we’ve got seven in the box, we have a spare man.
“Then it’s a case of delivering, having bravery and making the right decision and putting in the right ball for someone to get on the end of it.
“I’m brave enough to do it but some of the players have one eye on needing to get back. Why? Keep possession of the ball, work it, find that creativity and that belief in yourself to delivery quality.
“As soon as we start doing that, they don’t leave three up. They end up leaving one up. I’m brave enough and I need to demand that out of my players and get them to understand that.”
Asked what pleased him about Saturday’s performance, Curle added: “We’re organised, we’re disciplined and we’re prepared to face challenges. That, as a backbone, is what myself and the coaching staff have instilled and I think we’ve now got that platform.
“Now we need the players to start believing in themselves and put it together on matchdays because they do it through the week in training.
“I’m not the type of coach that’s about passing from A to B to C to B to A but I like players to have creativity and have licence to express themselves in the right areas.”