Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits he needs to ‘put his finger’ on why his ‘lax’ team seem unable to string together a consistent run of performances and results after Tuesday’s home defeat to Gillingham left them dangling just one place above the bottom four.
Once again Town followed a hugely encouraging display - the 3-1 win over AFC Wimbledon on Saturday - with a lacklustre and below-par showing as they were deservedly beaten 2-1 by the mid-table Gills.
When you’ve played one game really well, after two or three days it’s forgotten about and it’s gone. You have to start all over again and you start with a blank sheet. There’s nothing on that sheet but, at the moment, we seem to think there’s something on the sheet and that’s the dangerCobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
The opening 45 minutes was easily the worst half of Town’s campaign so far, and they were fortunate to only be 2-0 down at the break after goals from Josh Parker and Tom Eaves - and it’s that inconsistency which is the main reason they find themselves in such a precarious position
Hasselbaink has often tinkered with his team this season and did so again on Tuesday, making two changes and dropping John-Joe O’Toole into a deeper midfield role, but they failed to have the desired impact.
“We are a dangerous side when we’ve played one game really well, if you understand what I mean, and I need to put my finger on why that is,” said the Town boss.
“I have to try and get that right.
“We shouldn’t have our heads in the clouds because we’ve played one really good match - you have to do it week in, week out and game in, game out and that consistency we’ve only found a few times this season.
“We need to find it a little bit more.”
Asked to elaborate, Hasselbaink added: “What I mean by dangerous side is that we don’t turn up.
“When you’ve played one game really well, after two or three days it’s forgotten about and it’s gone.
“You have to start all over again and you start with a blank sheet.
“There’s nothing on that sheet but, at the moment, we seem to think there’s something on the sheet and that’s the danger.
“You have to start all over again and you have to want to do that work again and go through that pain again and be willing to suffer.
“If you do that, you normally come out on top against other teams but, on Tuesday, we were too open and too lax.”
Hasselbaink was also asked if he was worried about Town’s struggles against teams that play 3-5-2 after Gillingham became the second successive side to come to Sixfields and win playing three at the back.
“Well, no, it’s not a big concern for me,” he said.
“It’s not a concern because Gillingham were just direct and we didn’t deal with the long ball and that was the problem.”