Northampton players must “step up and take responsibility” if the Cobblers are to have any success this season, according to manager Chris Wilder.
Speaking after their dire 2-1 home defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge, Wilder gave an honest assessment of his side’s display as Matt McClure’s brace saw the Daggers to their first win of the season and their first ever victory over Northampton.
“People have to step up to the mark and take responsibility for their own performances and take responsibility for organising.”Chris Wilder
Wilder bemoaned a lack of leadership on the pitch with Northampton seemingly losing their nerve once they fell behind.
“Without a doubt players need to step up,” the Cobblers boss said. “That’s what we said in the changing room after the game.
“We can’t go from looking a comfortable team after half an hour against Plymouth and then again against Dagenham, when we had control of the ball and looked like opening them up, to then one thing happening and all of a sudden there’s a loss of confidence.
“People have to step up to the mark and take responsibility for their own performances and take responsibility for organising.
“That’s another aspect of the game where players have to push and pull people about and that’s what makes you a better and what ultimately makes you a better team.
“There’s a lot of work to be done to be on the training ground and we have to stand up and be counted in terms of our mental performance.
“While box-to-box you have to have a structure and a way of playing, which we think we do, ultimately it comes down to what happens in both boxes and if you’re not good enough in one box and let the ball go in too easily, which we have done, and you’re not clinical enough at the end end, you’re not going to win games.
“We had enough of the ball on Saturday to move them about. These players have got to get on with it and man up a bit.”
Jason Taylor’s omission raised a few eyebrows prior to kick-off but Wilder confirmed he was dropped rather than rested with Ryan Watson taking his place.
“We don’t think Jason has done great, if I’m honest,” continued Wilder. “I didn’t think his performance at Accrington was great and I don’t think Jason nor Joel (Byrom) have picked up from where left off last season.
“He does give great attributes to the team but he has to play well and I thought Ryan Watson was outstanding on Tuesday night and for the first half an hour on Saturday he was really good. He gives us control of the ball and if you have the ball it gives you the opportunity to score goals.
“Every player brings their own attributes to the team. It’s about me picking the right team and I’m going to have to look at that and we have to take responsibility as a group because the moans and groans are well deserved at me and the players today.
“But it quickly changes. We have to believe that and whichever team we pick – whether Jason’s involved or not – we feel we have a real talented group of players and I’ve got to make sure I pick the right team so I’ll definitely make sure I have a look at that.”
Wilder also confirmed Alfie Potter was substituted with a dead leg on Saturday to take Northampton’s injury worries to six with Adam Yates, Zander Diamond, Ricky Holmes, Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood all currently sidelined.
On Potter, Wilder said: “He’s just got a dead leg and was limping which was disappointing because I thought Alfie was really good on Tuesday night and he’s trained well this week.
“We had to change it around but that’s no excuse. We had enough players and experience and quality on the pitch to do a lot better than what we’ve done.
“In my eyes, that just isn’t good enough and we have to look at that.”