Rob Page apologised to Cobblers fans after their dismal 3-0 loss at rivals Peterborough United on Tuesday, but he refused to blame the defeat on his change of formation, instead lamenting his side’s defending.
Two first-half set-pieces were the main reason behind the result as Peterborough took a 2-0 lead into half-time before Tom Nichols’ late third rubbed salt into the wounds.
Page said: “We were 2-0 down at half-time because of two set-pieces. Too many times I’ve got into the changing room with the lads and said that we can’t keep giving teams silly goals like we have done.
“Today was two set-pieces. We knew they would have a lot of the ball and we knew we had to be disciplined in our shape and defending, but you can’t give silly goals away like that.
“It’s hard to take at the minute, it’s really hard to take.
“I thought we came into the game second-half even though we gave ourselves an absolute mountain to climb.
“I want to apologise to the fans that have travelled because I thought they were exceptional tonight and they were right to show their frustration at the end.
“I’ve just shown my frustration with the players and there’s nobody more frustrated than myself - I can’t accept it and I won’t accept it.
“I’m not making any excuses but we missed the spine of the team tonight with Jak McCourt and Matty Taylor suspended but taking aside that, it’s two set-pieces that is the reason we find ourselves 2-0 down at half-time.
“We had a spell in the game when we controlled it and I thought we were on top for a large spell but when you don’t finish your chances, they get half a chance and it’s in the back of the net and it’s game over.
“We’ve got to learn from it and the quicker we do, the better.”
Page raised a few eyebrows before kick-off when opting for a 3-5-2 formation with Marc Richards and Alex Revell up front.
On the change of formation, Page explained: “I wanted to go positive and I wanted to go with two up top.
“I thought Rico deserved a start and everybody knows what Revs have given ourselves all season, and Inded that extra man in the middle of the park against the diamond.
“With Gabby coming back I thought it made sense to with three at the back, but the formation had nothing to do with the two goals in the first-half.
“I thought we weathered the storm when we had to, we were disciplined and our shape looked good.
“I had to take off Joel Byrom off at half-time because of the booking and I didn’t want another Jak McCourt scenario.
“The shape didn’t cost us the two goals, two set-pieces did.”