Curle says 'attack is the best form of defence' as Cobblers prepare for Leyton Orient test

Keith Curle insists he is a believer that 'attack is the best form of defence' and that the Cobblers' issues with sitting too deep when leading late in matches is something his team will shake off with experience.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:24 pm
Cobblers' young central defensive pair Charlie Goode and Scott Wharton

The Town boss understands many fans' and observers' criticism that his team goes on the back foot too quickly and too easily, but he says he and his players are working hard on putting things right, and that it is going to take a team effort.

In recent weeks, the Cobblers have let six points slip from their grasp.

They have thrown away draws against Macclesfield Town and Bradford City thanks to late, late goals, and then in the past two weeks have led both Crawley Town and Morecambe 2-0 going into the final 20 minutes, only to concede twice and draw on both occasions.

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Cobblers boss Keith Curle

Curle says the instruction to sit too deep does not come from him or his coaching staff, and that it is something his players do as they come under pressure.

In their defence, he points to the fact that his central defensive pairing of Charlie Goode and Scott Wharton are young and still getting to know each other as a partnership, but that they will learn from their mistakes.

"With me being an ex-defender, I know the best form of defence is attack," said Curle, who won two caps for England and played the likes of Manchester City, Sheffield United and Wimbledon.

"You get the ball in the opposition's half, you keep it up there, create goalscoring opportunities and score goals.

"The further up the pitch you can start your defending, then the more chance you have got of keeping clean sheets and denying goalscoring opportunities, which is what we want to do.

"We have centre backs who are 21 and 23-years-old, and the defensive line is organised and starts with them, plus the goalkeeper.

"They are learning, they are adjusting, they are forming their own partnership in there and they are growing, developing and understanding situations that can affect them.

"They are both going to have fantastic futures in the game, and part of their development now is where do they set their line of retention as a defence?

"That means that every opportunity when the ball gets played backwards or square then we have to squeeze, and we have to keep people away from our goal."

Curle says it is not just down to his central defenders to set the tone though, and that the whole team has a responsibility to keep the Cobblers on the front foot throghout any given 90 minutes.

"We don't like conceding goals, and it is something we want to take more pride in," said the Town boss.

"It is something we need to develop, and we are continually working on our defensive shape as a team, and that starts right from the front.

"People will say 'oh, you are defending deep', well our defensive work starts from the front and we were disappointed with how they (Morecambe) were able to switch play first of all, and then able to step into the middle third without the right people being in the right place.

"So it is not just the defence, it's not just the goalkeeper, it's not just the defensive midfield players, our defending starts from the front as a team, and that wasn't good enough on Saturday, particularly for the second goal."