Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Northampton home defeat on Saturday afternoon.
“I have to be honest I thought the goals we gave away were soft from a defending point of view,” he said. “They have good players who are playing with confidence and they came up against a defence today which looked fragile.
“That’s something I’m not used to. A little bit of movement and creativity from them upset our defenders. We didn’t do the basics when we had people running off our shoulders and it cost us.
“I’m not sure I’d say we showed them too much respect but we were sitting off them and that’s why we made the changes we did. I wanted us to be more aggressive in our approach and I thought that’s the reaction we were going to get after we scored our goal.”
“They scored goals at the right time and a little bit of luck came their way with the deflections,” he commented. “We had a couple of similar situations where ours went wide. The one they had went in the middle of the goal when the keeper had set himself to go the other way.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t really test their keeper but the chances were there for us. We weren’t clinical enough when they came along and you can’t afford that when you’re up against the team at the top of the table.
“However, they haven’t had to earn their victory. We didn’t really make a full fist of taking the game to them. The fact is that if you give a good team goals like that and you’re going to be in for a long afternoon.”
“The good thing from the day is that results have gone for us,” he commented. “That’s why there is no need for us to dismantle too many things and we’ll get ourselves ready to go again on Tuesday. I’ve complained about our defending, but you have to give Northampton credit because they do have good movement and the players who can create things from it.
“They have lads who are game changers and game winners and their forwards gave their creative players a springboard to play off. Some of the things they did weren’t too difficult to play against, but we managed to make it look that way on too many occasions.”
“I thought we started very well and we looked like we were going to be a threat,” he told us. “If we’d put one of our chances away the complexities of the game could have changed. They weren’t really a driving force but we were suddenly looking at them being two goals up when they hadn’t really cut us open.
“One thing I will say is their ball mastery in the final third was better than ours and it made a difference. We showed a lack of discipline in our box and a lack of quality when we got into their half.”
“We went for the substitutions during the break because things had to change,” he confirmed. “The other things we said at half time need to stay private and in the changing room. The lads know I’m disappointed and I know they aren’t pleased with the work they did.
“I’m fully aware that if I say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person it can have a detrimental effect. I don’t want to start doing that. Part of what we talked about was that if we got the next goal we could make a real game of it.
“It came for us and all we needed to do then was keep a foothold for 10 or 15 minutes. From there we wanted to get our wide players more involved and we felt we could kick on and get something out of it. However well a team is doing in this division defenders don’t like dealing with balls in their own box and we didn’t test them on that as much as I wanted to.”
“Again we didn’t do the basics and they got their two goal cushion back,” he said. “It was always going to be harder to pick up and get going after that. We had a situation in the first half where Bastien [Hery] played a little bit wider than what we wanted to see.
“We wanted him narrower and to do a similar sort of job to what Holmes was doing for them. We didn’t get enough quality possession of the ball to allow him to be the link player between Kennedy and Joyce that we needed.
“His movement lacked the penetration we expected to see, but it’s not all about what Bastien and Luke Joyce did. They were changes I had to make at half time to try to get a more positive formation and more in the way of causing them problems.”
“The only real positive for us from the day is that results went our way,” he agreed. “We have to capitalise on that by putting things right on Tuesday night. We know we’ve underperformed but now isn’t the time for people to start getting off the bus.
“It was fantastic to have Danny [Grainger] and David [Atkinson] back and they needed that game today. They stepped in and did ok, and it shows the work they’ve been doing with Lee [Fearn] and Dolly has been worthwhile.
“It enabled them to get through the 90 minutes and they were ring-rusty, which they’re going to be, but they’re players we need. They are both good characters and this will have done them the world of good. With a bit of luck we’ll get Tom Miller and Charlie Wyke back on Tuesday as well.
“Hallam [Hope] scored a good goal and he does have that in him. As we keep saying, if we get the ball in the box we will get the rewards. Hallam will be very pleased because he hasn’t trained this week. He’s been off with an illness. He only reported himself as being available today. He’s absolutely shattered now having emptied the tank for 45 minutes, but he’s reminded us that he has some very good attributes.”