After securing back-to-back wins, extending their unbeaten run to 31 games and leading them up to eighth in Sky Bet League One, few would begrudge Rob Page giving himself a satisfactory pat on the back for a what most would view as an excellent start to the new campaign.
But there was no hint of that after Saturday’s victory over Walsall. Instead, Page insisted his side can and will get better as the season progresses.
Saturday’s accomplished 2-0 victory took Northampton up to eighth with 11 points from their opening seven games, but with the season still very much in its infancy, there will be no getting carried.
Even so, those three points coupled with the previous weekend’s triumph over MK Dons bode well for the remainder of the campaign as the Cobblers looked a cut above a Walsall side who only narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship just four months ago.
Page, though, says there’s room for improvement.
“Of course we’re happy with the start,” he said after Saturday’s win. “It’s funny because you’re on a knife edge when you draw your first five games.
“If you lose one, it makes it a bad start to the season, but if you win one, it makes it a great start.
“We’ve won two back-to-back now but we’ve done nothing yet. It’s early, early stages and we have a hell of a lot to learn.
“There were disappointed lads after the game on Saturday which speaks volumes about the players I’ve got in the dressing room.
“We’ll get better, we will. We’ll work hard on the training pitch and we’re not getting carried away with what we’ve done up until now because it’s nothing.
We’ll get better, we will. We’ll work hard on the training pitch and we’re not getting carried away with what we’ve done up until now because it’s nothing.Rob Page
“We want to work hard and we want to improve. Defensively, as a shape, I thought we were outstanding on Saturday and that is our foundation.
“Once we’ve got that, we’ve got players in the team that will go and score and win games and we’ll build on that.”
Having relinquished a 1-0 half-time lead on three separate occasions already this season, there was no hint of the same happening again on Saturday when Walsall were kept at arm’s-length by Northampton who always looked in control and destined for the three points.
“I think we played to our strengths,” added Page. “We knew there was an area to exploit against Walsall. They’re young at the back and we’ve got one of the best headers at this level in Alex Revell.
“If you put balls in and get the delivery right, you’ll score goals, and then you add Matty Taylor’s threat going forward and Harry Beautyman’s threat going forward.
“Beautyman’s natural position is a number 10 so for him it’s perfect and Matty’s got the energy to run all day.
“We’re now playing more to our strengths and that’s the difference.”