Attitude of Cobblers pleases Curle - but boss fires warning shot to players
Cobblers boss Keith Curle has fired a warning shot to his players by insisting they are still a long way short of the ‘required level’ he expects.
Town have won four of their last five fixtures and are on the outskirts of the play-off positions n Sky Bet League Two.
They also made safe progress in the FA Cup with a professional 3-0 victory at non-league Chippenham Town on Sunday.
But while Curle praised his players for their attitude ahead of that potential banana skin, he also had a word of warning as the Cobblers prepare to host fourth-placed Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
He said: “The application and the attitude of the players has been excellent - they want to improve, they want to listen and they want to learn.
“That’s the environment that we’ve created. We’ve got an expressive environment where players are able to express themselves.
“Training is very good on a daily basis and the environment is very good and the level of performances and results are on an upward curve.
“But by no means are we anywhere near the required standards and levels that we’re aiming for.
"We still need to improve and there are still basics we need to improve on.”
Curle did, however, acknowledge the professional manner in which his players went about their business on Sunday, and he was especially pleased to keep a fourth clean sheet in five games.
It was a first shut out in Cobblers colours for goalkeeper Steve Arnold, who had little to do thanks to the efforts of defenders Charlie Goode, Jordan Turnbull and Scott Wharton in front of him.
“Even though we were 3-0 up at half-time, the mindset of the goalkeeper and the back three was ‘we’re working’,” he added.
“The other lads can go and enjoy themselves and try and get us playing but they’ve got to be switched on and be in work mode.
“I thought the back three, Charlie Goode especially, were exceptional.”
And reflecting further on their 3-0 victory at Hardenhuish Park, Curle added: “I touched on it before the game - the mindset of the players had to be right and credit to them because it was.
“We didn’t change our delivery that we gave the players and we didn’t change the analysis on the opposition and the important thing is that the players understood the importance of the game.
“It was a solid, professional performance.”