Chris Wilder said he was just as content with his Cobblers side’s performance in their defeat at Plymouth Argyle as he was in the two games they won before it.
Town slipped to a 2-0 loss at Home Park in which they had few goalscoring opportunities despite having the majority of the second-half possession.
It means their three-game winning streak comes to an end and leaves them five points off the Sky Bet League Two play-offs with 11 games left to play.
But Wilder was happy with the way his team - who lost Chris Hackett to illness a day before the game and was also without the suspended Joel Byrom and the injured Marc Richards - competed against a strong Pilgrims side who returned to the top seven with their victory.
“If we’d won here today it would have been a great result and would have capped a fantastic result for us,” he said.
“I’m just as happy with how we played in this game as I was in the two before it, we just needed a little bit more belief and to go at them a bit more.
“I thought we were more than a match for a very good side, who were desperate to bounce back after a couple of bad results.
“Based on our performance in the second half I felt we deserved to get something out of the game and we were knocking on the door to get a result.
“We possibly would have taken five points from the three games and we’ve got six and we’re walking away from Plymouth really disappointed. They had to really scrap to get themselves over the finishing line.
“The team are hurting at the moment but we have to dust ourselves down and go again.”
Wilder also confirmed he would include an incident with the Plymouth stadium announcer in his report of the game after an exchange of words towards the end of the first half.
“I had a disagreement with the stadium announcer because he was trying to get into the fourth official and the referee,” he said.
“I think he’s there to be a stadium announcer and nothing else and if ours did that I’d get rid of him.
“I don’t want people to get smashed but I thought that was outrageous. I don’t think his job as part of Plymouth Argyle’s staff is to do that and I made that view clear to the fourth official and to the referee.
“It will go in the report because I think that’s out of order.”