Anderson says '˜positive' Cobblers players desperate to turn form around
Midfielder Paul Anderson has revealed what went on in the Cobblers' team meeting following last weekend's 3-2 Sky Bet League One defeat to Rochdale at Sixfields.
Manager Rob Page kept his players in the dressing room for almost an hour after the loss to Dale, the team’s sixth reverse in seven games in all competitions.
Page says he wanted the players to speak their minds and to get any issues out in the open, and Anderson has revealed that it was a very positive meeting, despite the team’s run of poor results.
“It is gutting every time you lose, whatever game it is,” said the former Ipswich Town man.
“But on Saturday there was no crisis meeting, which people may have assumed because we were in there for an hour.
“There was not one negative comment that was said after the game, it was a group of guys who all work together, the staff and the players, and we are all in it together.
“It was ‘there’s not much wrong here, what have we got to do to get things going the right way’, and it was a collective group putting out there what they think may help us.
“There was nothing negative at all, it was a positive conversation, and it was a group of guys trying to get something back that hasn’t reallly gone.”
And he added: “Just because you lose a few games over a period you can maybe put a bit too much thought into it, and add a bit too much pressure, and I think that’s where we are now.
“I think there is too much thought going into it, rather than just going out and enjoying your football and playing. It was a very good conversation.”
Manager Page has had to endure plenty of criticism from supporters in recent weeks as the team has struggled on the pitch.
There have been moans and groans about selection, tactics and substitutions, but Anderson says the responsibilty for performances and results lies with the players on the pitch.
“Every player in the dressing room will put their hand up and say that at some point they have made an individual mistake,” said the 28-year-old, who was signed on a free transfer from Bradford City in August.
“Recently we have been punished for little mistakes we have been making, and we can’t make excuses.
“The 11 players that are out on the pitch at any one time are the ones that have to take responsibility.
“Nothing has changed, training has not changed, nothing’s changed from six weeks ago when we were fifth, it’s just that all of us at some point have made a mistake.
“We have to concentrate, we have to make sure we are in the right place at the right time on the pitch to make sure those mistakes don’t happen.”
Town may have lost five out of their past six in the league, with the only victory a 3-2 success at Port Vale, but Anderson - who scored his sixth goal of the season in the win at Vale Park - feels results have been harsh on him and his team-mates.
“Of the games we have lost, I think the only one where we didn’t deserve anything from it was the Bradford game, they were a better team than us in my opinion,” he said.
“I think if you look at Gillingham, Peterborough, Bolton and then Rochdale, I think we should have taken something from all of those games, but we didn’t.
“I know it’s a results business and we have to win games, draw games or see them out because we have put ourselves in a great position, but I don’t think there is much wrong.
“The level of expectation is there because we have shown what we can do and we were fifth in the league.
“On the flip side, you get promoted and if you ask any team that gets promoted, their target the following season is to stay in that league, and we are not in a bad position.”
The Cobblers will be aiming to claim a much-needed victory at Oxford United on Boxing Day, and Anderson believes three points is a real possibility.
“I think every team in this league, including ourselves, believe they can win most games,” he said.
“I’m sure Oxford will be looking at us thinking they are the better team, whereas we look at the game thinking we can win there, we are the better team.
“Every game is a bit of a battle, but we are ready for it and I am sure we will go into it with attacking thoughts and going out to win the match.”