Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says Saturday’s second-half horror show against Scunthorpe United must act as a ‘learning curve’ for his team ahead of crunch games against fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle and Bury this week.
The Cobblers, who returned to the Sky Bet League One relegation zone with Saturday’s 3-0 defeat, travel to second-bottom Plymouth tonight before basement side Bury are the visitors to Sixfields four days later.
The importance of those two games has been cranked up a notch or two in the wake of Saturday’s defeat against Scunthorpe, especially the way it unfolded when Northampton followed an encouraging opening 45 minutes with a wretched second-half display that deservedly saw them well beaten.
That dropped them two places back to 21st but the League One table remains congested and with two positive results this week, starting against Plymouth this evening, Town could make a significant move in the right direction.
“Let’s do one thing at a time and concentrate on the next one which is Plymouth and that’s a very important game,” said Hasselbaink.
“It’s (Saturday) a learning performance for the team and we need to learn.
“It’s about falling and then getting up and learning from it.
“We must make sure we take everything in and try to improve and try to get better. We have to take it as a learning curve and try to really keep on working and improve and produce a better performance.”
The visit of Scunthorpe was Northampton’s fifth game of seven in the space of 21 days but tiredness was no excuse for Hasselbaink, who instead lamented his side’s wasteful finishing.
“Tiredness should not have been a factor,” he added. “It was not about that, it was about know-how and doing the job.
We must make sure we take everything in and try to improve and try to get better. We have to take it as a learning curve and try to really keep on working and improve and get a better performance.
“It was about closing people down and daring to play at times and making the right decisions. We didn’t make enough right decisions and we were too distant.
“We need to take our chances. We are creating chances, as we did in the Tuesday game, but we need to take them.
“We have to be calmer and be better at doing that because we need to score goals..
“We’re working hard to create chances, it’s just being calm and taking your time and hitting the net.
“Hopefully we can keep on making those chances but start putting them away.”