Keith Curle believes taking a ‘measured’ approach to his players was key in coaxing a positive response out of them on Tuesday evening when they produced ‘a performance to be very proud of’ against Tranmere Rovers.
After Saturday’s heavy 4-0 defeat to Colchester United, Curle revealed he didn’t ‘rant and rave’ at his players in the changing room in fear of them ‘going into their shells’, so he instead opted for a calmer approach.
And that seemed to do the trick when they rolled their sleeves up and battled to a 2-1 victory at Prenton Park, with Sam Hoskins scoring two first-half goals.
“It was a fighting performance that the football club can be very proud of,” said Curle.
“The changing room felt the defeat on Saturday. It wasn’t a case of accepting it. The result was not accepted and there were elements that we addressed on Monday.
“Challenges were set to the players individually and collectively and there’s nothing better than a game of football to put it right.
Some modern day footballers don’t react to that. They need a more measured approach with more information but what they’ll always get from me is honesty and the truth.
“The players accepted the challenge. I don’t think after the game on Saturday was the right time because what I’ve learned about this changing room is that it’s about the timing and the information you give the players.
“I’m very honest but sometimes, with the emotions of it, straight after game, and especially after a 4-0 defeat, isn’t the right time for it in my opinion.
“But the information was given in a controlled environment with the players and in a very honest, calm way and that’s sometimes better than having a rant and a rave whereby my journey home might make me feel better because I’ve let people have it.
“The right way to do it is to go home, study the video and gather all the information I need and then give it to the players in a format that is useful and informative but also challenges them.”
Curle came to Northampton with the reputation of a no-nonsense straight-talker but while he says he will always be honest with his players, he also believes it’s important to be adaptable.
“It’s about me not losing my head after a game and going in the changing room and saying exactly what comes to my mind about individual players and errors that have happened,” he said.
“I’ve done it before and it made me feel a lot better for 15, 20 minutes after the game but then you reflect on a Sunday knowing you’ve got a game on Tuesday.
“You’ve just given both barrels to a player and then you have to get that person up and get him to run through a brick wall for you and for the shirt and for the club.
“Some modern day footballers don’t react to that. They need a more measured approach with more information but what they’ll always get from me is honesty and the truth.”