Cobblers caretaker manager Dean Austin admitted his side’s fragile confidence was to blame for their 3-0 defeat to Blackpool on Tuesday, but he wouldn’t fault the effort of his players.
Taking charge for the first time since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s sacking last Monday, Austin’s team were well in the game after 40 minutes having created and squandered the best two chances in what was a relatively even opening period.
But Armand Gnanduillet’s goal late in the first-half appeared to sap the confidence and belief from the Cobblers, who proceeded to fall apart in the second 45 when Sean Longstaff and Jimmy Ryan were both on target as Blackpool threatened to rack up a big victory.
Three goals would be enough though with the Cobblers now 10 games without a win and in need of a miraculous turnaround to avoid relegation this season.
“I was relatively pleased with the effort,” said Austin afterwards. “I’m not going to fault the boys because they gave everything but unfortunately when things aren’t going well for you, as they haven’t for us recently, the team can became a bit fragile after you lose a goal.
“Goals change games and we were well in the game. We had our moments but then the goal just before half-time was a bit of a blow to be honest.
“In terms of creating chances and what we’ve spoken about as a group in the last third and trying to make things happen, I thought we didn’t do too badly in the first-half and got ourselves some decent opportunities.
“The confidence is a little bit low so we needed that extra care and composure in the final third and at times it wasn’t there tonight, but I’m not going to fault for that.”
More than 350 Cobblers fans made the long trip to the north west coast line on Tuesday but they were again let down as their side crumbled to defeat without putting up much of a fight.
“It was a fantastic following from the supporters and I’m really sad for them that we couldn’t pull something of but in terms of the effort and the endeavour, the boys never gave in,” added Austin.
“Unfortunately, when you’re chasing games and you’re in our position, when it goes 2-0 the boys are trying too hard and you end up losing your shape a bit and you worry that you could end up four of five and it wasn’t a four or five game.
“We just didn’t get out of the traps in the first 20 minutes of the second, that was our real problem. We didn’t get on the front foot and do what we did in the first-half.”