Curle reveals Cobblers purposely played 'under fatigue' in Brackley defeat

If you're wondering how the Cobblers managed to go from laboured in defeat at non-league Brackley to outplaying League One MK Dons in the space of three days, then manager Keith Curle has the answer.

Saturday, 27th July 2019, 11:12 am
Vadaine Oliver and Joe Martin battle for possession during Cobblers' defeat to Brackley. Picture: Pete Norton

Town started quickly against Saints on Tuesday night but faded towards half-time and were then second best after the break, succumbing to Tendai Daire's second-half strike.

But it was a different story three evenings later when Curle's side were the dominant team against Paul Tisdale's Dons, who won automatic promotion out of League Two last season.

Sam Hoskins converted one of three first-half chances before Harry Smith rose high to head in a second after half-time - Nicky Adams providing both assists - and though Kieran Agard pulled a late goal back, Dons could have no complains over the final outcome.

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So, how do you explain such a rapid turnaround?

"We've done a lot of physical work this week and a lot of people will wonder how you can go from getting beat by Brackley to beating MK Dons in such a short period," said Curle.

"But we wanted us to work under fatigue on Tuesday. In the morning we put on football fatigue sessions for the players because we knew going into the Brackley game we wanted them to be exposed playing under fatigue.

"No matter who you are and no matter what level you play at, under fatigue you make the wrong decisions so we wanted to exploit that with the players and you've got to say it worked given the result!"

Cobblers looked fit and sharp during Friday's friendly at the PTS, their final pre-season game before facing Walsall in League One next weekend.

"It was important to get more minutes into the players," Curle added. "Some players - Charlie Goode, Alan McCormack, Reece Hall-Johnson - have missed a large chunk of pre-season so it was important for them to get good minutes under their belt on Friday.

"Now the players have the weekend off now but they've been told that Monday will be about tactical, technical and physical development of roles and responsibilities and how we want to play the game."