Keep calm and stay united is the message from manager Dean Austin to his under-fire Cobblers players after their poor start to the season continued with Saturday’s dismal 3-1 defeat to Cheltenham Town.
Northampton have just one win and six points from their opening seven league games, leaving them 20th in Sky Bet League Two, far below what was expected before a ball had been kicked.
The performances, in general, have been an improvement on last term but Saturday’s tepid defeat to lowly Cheltenham, when Will Boyle, Conor Thomas and Kelsey Mooney all scored, has raised alarm bells and cranked up the pressure on Austin and his players.
But the Town boss was quick to jump to the defence of his team afterwards, saying: “I’ve told them to stay calm. The one thing we have to do is to stick together and we have to be united and be one group.
“I’m the manager, I’m the one that has to take the flak and that’s fine because that’s the job, but the players need to stay calm, work hard, pick each other up and have a go at each other if someone’s not doing something right.
“But ultimately we’ve got to take responsibility. Only we can change it and we do that by keep working hard.”
I’m the manager. I’m the one that has to take the flak and that’s fine because that’s the job but the players need to stay calm, work hard, pick each other up and have a go at each other if someone’s not doing something right.
Despite their disappointing second-half performance on Saturday, Austin has maintained his belief that the Cobblers will eventually get their rewards providing they perform to standards set in previous games.
He added: “I spoke to someone before the game, he was an ex-professional and he’s been to all three games at home and he couldn’t believe we hadn’t won any of them.
“It’s very easy to say when you’re losing that everything is wrong and it’s also very easy to say that, had we got in front and won the game, everything was rosy and everything was great.
“From my perspective, you’re never doing everything wrong when you’re losing and you’re never doing everything right when you’re winning.
“But we have to have a steeliness and more of a cutting edge in both boxes. That’s what we’ve got to work on and get better at.
“The players are working phenomenally hard every day but when things aren’t going your way or when you’re conceding poor goals or whatever reason you’re not winning games, they’re human beings and it drains confidence out of people.
“They didn’t stop trying. I’m not going to pelt my players because they didn’t give enough effort because they did. They gave us everything we had.”