Boss Austin says Cobblers players have to become '˜mentally stronger'
Dean Austin believes the Cobblers players have to be '˜mentally stronger' to deal with supporter criticism as the team struggles for form.
It has not been the start to the season anybody involved with Town was anticipating, with the team in the lower reaches of Sky Bet League Two.
They have won just once in nine games in all competitions, and failed to win a match on home soil.
Saturday’s 3-1 league defeat to Cheltenham was a new low for Town with the players struggling badly after a bright start, and sections of the home fans let their feelings be known, with boos ringing out at half-time and full-time.
Austin, who has made it clear he believes the fans have every right to criticise the team if they don’t perform, felt the negative atmosphere affected some of his players and the way the team played, and that simply cannot be allowed to happen in the future.
“From the players’ point of view, they have got to be stronger, they have to be mentally stronger,” said Austin, who played for Southend United, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace in a playing career spanning 12 years and more than 400 matches.
“I wasn’t a very good player, but the one thing that I did have was a big pair of b***s, and I would never get outrun, and I would never get outfought in a game of football.
“That was something I would pride myself on, regardless of how I was playing, or what I was doing.
“I have had 28,000 people on my back at one of my previous clubs, and you come to the PTS here and you have 5,000 loyal fans.
“If you can’t take that, then how are you going to move on in your careers?
“How are you going to be better?
“How are you going to move on in your lives, how are you going to be able to move on to a higher and bigger level if you’re good enough?
“For me, the ability bit is a very, very small part of what we are, and the ability bit is where we try to improve the players by working on the training pitch every day.
“In regards to the mental side, and the psychological side, you can’t be affected by things like that (a negative crowd reaction).
“At the end of the day, we have a paying public here that spend very good money to come and watch this team play.
“We have got into the habit of losing games of football, and far too many games here at home.
“Now, I am used to winning a lot more than I am to losing through my career as a player, and as a coach, and an assistant.
“We have to turn this round, and it is no good people feeling sorry for themselves, it is no good shrinking because at the end of the day, these lads have got the best job in the world.
“Every single punter that comes in would love to be able to do what they do, they would love to be out on that field, and be able to play and do the job these boys do.
“For me, I have the second best job in the world.
“The best job is playing, but I can’t play any more, but I have the second best job in the world, and that is managing Northampton Town.
“The players have the best job in the world, and I have said to the boys I am fed up of having to make excuses, there are no more excuses.
“We can’t make any more excuses.
“It’s not just the players, it’s us, me included and the staff as well.”
The Cobblers return to league two action on Saturday when they travel to Port Vale (ko 3pm).