Cobblers boss Rob Page believes goalkeeper Adam Smith will have no trouble in bouncing back from his horror show in Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Smith has been a revelation for Northampton since signing last summer but he had a night to forget on Wednesday when two basic errors cost his side badly.
His first came on 17 minutes when he inexplicably picked up Matty Taylor’s back-pass, with the resulting free-kick leading to Michael Carrick’s opener, before the Cobblers goalkeeper completely missed his kick when attempting to clear his lines, allowing Marcus Rashford an easy tap-in to secure United’s victory.
However, Page didn’t feel it was a matter of the occasion getting to Smith as he backed his goalkeeper to recover ahead of Saturday’s League One clash with Southend United.
He said: “I think it was just a lapse of concentration.
“He’s been outstanding this season and he was outstanding all last season so we’re not going to beat him up too much about it.
“He knows he’s had better evenings and he’ll bounce back bigger and stronger for having had that.
“You don’t judge a player on one game or one half. Last season he was outstanding and it’s now about getting him back to that level of performance and he has been up until now.
“We’ll get him back. The next 24 hours he’ll recover and be ready to go again on Saturday.”
Even without Smith’s errors, the Cobblers faced a tall order, especially in the second-half when Jose Mourinho felt the need to call upon Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
The two joined Wayne Rooney to make up a formidable front line, and Page admitted he was slightly taken aback by the talent at United’s disposal, although that didn’t stop him from feeling disappointed with the result.
He added: “It’s probably the strongest bench I’ve ever seen in my career!
“You do take a gasp when you see them warming up but that’s a compliment to our team that they felt the need to put those three on to win the game.
“Inevitably they did but they didn’t have to work hard for the goals - we had a hand in all three.
“Overall, from a team’s point of view, I was pleased with the effort but when you give teams goals like that there’s only one outcome.”
Page, who enjoyed pitting his wits against Mourinho in the opposing dugout, also thanks the crowd for their tremendous support with attentions now turning to Saturday’s visit of Southend United.
He continued: “The crowd played a massive part and I want to thank them for that.
“The support has been tremendous. It was another game of football we wanted to win and the work-rate and commitment they gave me, we need that again on Saturday.
“There are areas we need to improve on and we’ll be working hard on the training pitch to put it right.”