Curle doesn't regret his substitutions and insists he isn't asking Cobblers to drop deep - reaction and highlights

Keith Curle has no regrets over his choice of substitutions and insisted he isn't asking the Cobblers to 'sit back and invite pressure' after they frittered away another couple of points against Morecambe on Saturday.

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 10:35 am
Keith Curle observes from the touchline. Picture: Pete Norton

It has become something of a theme this season that Town work hard to manoeuvre themselves into a winning position but then drop off and allow the opposition to dictate the game and apply pressure.

After conceding two late goals in defeat to Bradford City at the start of the month, Curle's side then led 2-0 after 70 minutes against Crawley and Morecambe on successive weekends but conceded an injury-time equaliser on both occasions to drop four potentially crucial points.

Curle, though, says Town's tendency to sit back and give the opposition control of possession is not a result of orders from the bench, and he also felt he made the right substitutions after bringing on Harry Smith, Reece Hall-Johnson and Matty Warburton during Saturday's game.

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"No, I don't," he replied when asked if he had any regrets. "The first sub was designed to put two up top so we could play in the opposition's half, get the ball forward and retain possession in their final third.

"It's saying to them that we want to be on the front foot. We put two men up front to give us more of an attacking threat and to make it easier to get the ball up there but we lacked a little bit of quality and we didn't get that connection.

"When we had opportunities to play in the final third, we took the wrong option. When we took the right option, we created goalscoring opportunities. We hit the woodwork three times but they will start going in.

"But likewise we know that we can't invite pressure, we can't sit back and we need to get closer to them because I've looked back at the video and I've looked at their goals and they're poor goals and goals we need to stop."

Cobblers also appear guilty of losing their concentration. After allowing Crawley to get a cheap goal back last week, another lapse following an injury to the linesman saw Adam Buxton halve the deficit on Saturday, which in turn completely altered the flow of the game.

"It did seem to take a long time," said Curle on the change of linesman which led to 10 minutes of stoppage-time. "We did ask if he could have walked around the pitch instead of going across it but they have to change the intercoms.

"But they're the home team and they're fighting for their lives and we didn't adopt the right mentality and that comes from the leaders in the team - we've got to play higher up the pitch and we're a better team when we do that and have that confrontation instead of sitting back and inviting pressure."