Chris Wilder feels Saturday’s defeat to Newport County will serve as a warning to his Cobblers squad that they still have a lot of work and improvement to do this season.
Town were well beaten by the Exiles despite scoring twice in the final 15 minutes, ending a two-match winning sequence with a 3-2 loss.
Wilder had no complaints about the result and offered no excuses for it, instead focusing on the fact that it will be a reminder to his team that they will not play like they did at Dagenham every week, and have to execute the basics of the game better than their opposition at all times.
“There is enough about the players for them to galvanise themselves because they knew it wasn’t up to the standards that we’ve set for ourselves,” he said.
“A defeat is never easy to take at any level and I don’t want us to be a team that accepts defeats.
“The players have been good and this is maybe a little bit of a warning about the harsh realities of league two football.
“We took a lot of plaudits for the way we played at Dagenham but on Saturday it showed us that you have to do the dirty bits and pieces, not just the flowing football, better than the opposition if you’re going to get a result.
“We didn’t do that, and it allowed them (Newport) to play. We were second best for the whole game except maybe for the last 10 or 15 minutes.”
Wilder does not feel that his players allowed themselves to get carried away with the quality of their performance in the previous game, at Dagenham.
He says there was no raising of expectation levels after that match and is confident the squad has the strength of character to respond with a positive result against Hartlepool at Sixfields on Tuesday night.
“They’re not big time, they’re not arrogant,” he said. “I don’t think in the week we’re telling everyone what good players they are, what a good manager I am and that we’re going to win the league by 15 points.
“Maybe people have watched us and seen we’re a decent side. I’m sure Justin (Edinburgh) will have been at Dagenham because they didn’t play until the Monday.
“You look for a reaction now. This is an honest group and they’re disappointed because they know they didn’t do enough on Saturday.”