Cobblers boss Page determined to lift 'dented' confidence ahead of Oxford United clash

The Cobblers slumped to a 3-2 home defeat to Rochdale on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
The Cobblers slumped to a 3-2 home defeat to Rochdale on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Rob Page has admitted that his players' confidence 'will be dented' by what has been a difficult week for the Cobblers.

Town were beaten 3-2 at home by Rochdale in Sky Bet League One on Saturday despite twice taking the lead in the game, and that followed on just four days after a 1-0 FA Cup loss at non-League Stourbridge.

Cobblers boss Rob Page

Cobblers boss Rob Page

The Cobblers have now lost six games in the past seven in all competitions, but have to pick themselves up ahead of a very busy Christmas and new year period, which starts with away games at Oxford United on Boxing Day, and then Chris Wilder's Sheffield United on New Year's Eve.

Page was desperately disappointed following the loss to Dale, and spent a full hour with his players after the game before undertaking his post-match media duties.

And the Cobblers boss says it is now up to him to raise morale ahead of the trip to Kassam Stadium next Monday.

"Confidence will be dented, of course it will, and it is my job now to make sure they pick themselves up and we are ready to go again," said Page.

"We can't dwell on what has happened, nobody is going to come in and give us a magic pill that we can take, so we roll our sleeves up and work hard.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves, we have to turn up to work and crack on."

"I have never faulted or questioned the players' attitude, and Saturday's game wasn't about that, it was about decision making."

The Cobblers players are back in training on Monday, and have a clear week before Christmas to work on what has been going wrong in recent weeks, but Page says he has to be careful not to work them too hard.

"We have a busy period coming up, so we can't batter the players too hard, although it is about getting the work into them," said the Town manager.

"We have to be mindful that we have a busy period coming up, but the players will do their work, they know what is expected of them this week.

"We will address the issues we have seen in Saturday's game, and we will work hard to put it right, and as I have said to the players, as quick as this turned against us, it can turn back for us again.

"The first 11 games (of the season) we were unbeaten, albeit the first five were draws, and we have to get back to that.

"We have to get back to doing the basics right, and defending as a unit.

"In those first 11 games we drew a lot, but we didn't look like scoring. Then we go out and score seven in two games, but we were shipping goals, and not it has gone the other way, where we are shipping goals and losing.

"We scored two goals at home on Saturday and should win, but we are not seeing games out and that is something we will have work on, and we will do.

"Eighty percent of the conversation in the dressing room after the game was about game management.

"It's about having leaders, about having men and about having that nasty, ruthless streak in you.

"I am not talking about getting sent off, I am not talking about punching people, or making ridiculous tackles, I am talking about having warriors on the pitch.

"It's about, just after you score, for five minutes you turn the opposition around, whereas on Saturday we twice conceded within five minutes of taking the lead.

"That is game management, and is something we will address."

There were plenty of boos and unhappy supporters following the defeat at Sixfields on Saturday, and Page accepts that comes with the territory.

"I totally understand the fans' frustration, but I can't sit around and sulk about it, I have work to do and we want to get the players back out on the training pitch and work hard for the Oxford game."