Curle: Rebuilding confidence has been the key to Cobblers' upturn in fortunes
Cobblers boss Keith Curle has revealed how he's gone about rebuilding his team's previously shattered confidence after their emphatic win at Macclesfield on Tuesday.
Curle picked up the pieces from former manager Dean Austin just two days after Town had been humbled 4-0 by Mansfield Town, which left them level on points with the relegation zone in Sky Bet League Two.
It was thought he would need a little time to steady the ship and steer the Cobblers back up the table given their relegation last season and poor record - one win in 12 - at the start of the current campaign.
But he quickly made a positive impression, starting with respectable draws against Bury and Swindon before leading the team to back-to-back wins over Oxford United in the Checkatrade Trophy and Forest Green Rovers in the league.
A brief blip followed at MK Dons on Saturday when beaten 1-0 but the Cobblers returned to the winning trail in spectacular fashion at Moss Rose on Tuesday evening as they demolished Macclesfield 5-0, taking his overall record to six games played, three wins, two draws and one defeat.
So, what’s been the secret?
“Confidence is a massive thing,” said Curle. “In the first conversation I had with the players they said about a lack of confidence.
“A few days later I asked them a few questions: what is confidence? Where does it come from? Where does it go? And how do you get it back?
“There were some interesting answers!
“Saying winning games is very easy because everyone is confident when you win games, but it’s about the simple things you do through the week that build up your level of performance.
“If you master the simple things very well in football, confidence builds and then players, when they get into the right areas, can express themselves and that’s what we try to do.
“Players are allowed to play and express themselves in the right areas.
“It’s getting that understanding right throughout the team - this is where we can play, this is where we can express ourselves and when it’s not on, we don’t play but we put the ball into good areas.
“I’m a believe that if you take pleasure in doing the simple things on a consistent basis, that will build confidence.”
Interestingly, Curle also explained his bold approach to corners.
The Cobblers have posed a much greater threat from set-pieces since his arrival with centre-back Aaron Pierre, scorer of three goals in four games, the main beneficiary.
“From corners we empty the middle of the mark,” he explained.
“If the opposition leave one up, we leave one against one and if they leave two up, we’re prepared to play one against their two.
“That’s because we’ve got belief in the delivery and the purpose of the moves in the box and it’s down to the opposition - we’re committed and we want to score goals.”