Watson accepts players 'owe a performance' to Curle after they 'let the manager down' in U's thrashing

Ryan Watson.Ryan Watson.
Ryan Watson.
Players must 'take responsibility' for manner of the defeat

Midfielder Ryan Watson accepts he and his Cobblers team-mates 'owe a performance' to manager Keith Curle after admitting they 'let him down' during Tuesday's abject 4-0 defeat at Oxford United.

Watson was one of four players to return to the starting line-up at the Kassam Stadium but after a decent first-half that ended goalless, Town crumbled in the second 45 minutes with Matty Taylor scoring twice in an emphatic home win.

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Having spent almost 90 minutes with his players and coaches in the changing room afterwards, Curle was heavily critical of the performance and said he felt 'let down' by the manner of the defeat.

Watson agreed with that verdict, saying: "We do feel as players that we let the manager down to be honest. We're all hurting because it's not nice. Obviously we didn't want to come here and get that result.

"I don't think we can blame tiredness or the fact we had players missing or anything like that. I'm not too sure what happened. We're going to have to look at the game back and work on a lot of things because us as players need to stand up and be counted and take responsibility.

"We feel like we've let the whole club down and all of the fans as well and the managers and the coaching staff. We need to look at ourselves as individuals and make sure we perform on Saturday because we owe the manager and the supporters a performance."

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Town did not conjure a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, with one of very few chances falling to Caleb Chukwuemeka when the deficit was still at one goal.

"It might have been a different story had we taken the chance at 1-0 but it wasn't our night and now it's important we stay positive," Watson added. "We can't fall apart like we did and let those type of goals in and get beat 4-0. It doesn't look good and it's not a reflection of us as a group.

"A few of us have been together for a long time now and we know we've got to do a lot better than that. We feel like we let the manager down and there's no-one to blame apart from ourselves.

"The manager can't do everything for us. We train hard but maybe we've got to train smarter as a group of lads to make sure we can put things right on the pitch."