Aidy Boothroyd was left unhappy with certain aspects of Northampton Town’s performance in the 3-1 loss to a Tottenham Hotspur XI on Saturday, and is keen to iron out those issues before the new season gets underway.
Two goals from Souleymane Coulibaly and one for John Bostock ensured that a youthful Spurs side were comfortable winners in Northampton’s penultimate friendly, with all three goals being attributed to defensive lapses.
Cobblers boss Boothroyd was angered by that and was also left frustrated with his side’s inability to take the chances that were presented to them. They now have one more friendly against a West Ham United XI on Tuesday before the new campaign begins.
"The whole point of having these games is to realise the things that we need to work on and that we're not quite good enough at yet, but I think of all of the games so far I've got the least out of that,” he said, reflecting on the defeat.
I'm trying to get the balance between getting everybody fit, trying to work on specific things and trying to win, and they don't always come together. I've got to be sensible about it and say that they did very well, but again it was three individual errors.
“So I've got a choice; I can either work on it or change personnel and that's fine - I'm quite happy to do that either way. We'll get back to work and we'll iron out the little flaws that need to be done, and make sure that when we put crosses into the box we get people on the end of them.
“I just felt that we didn't put their goalkeeper under enough pressure to make saves, and when we got into those areas we weren't clinical enough. The difference was that, for all Spurs' possession, when they got a chance they took it.
“Even at our level, you have to be clinical in what you're doing and as time goes on we'll get that. We've got one more pre-season game and it's up to us to make sure that we get something out of that as we build towards Cardiff."
The home game against West Ham presents the final opportunity for Boothroyd to experiment with the side before their season-opening Capital One Cup tie against last season’s finalists Cardiff City at Sixfields a week tomorrow.
Although his team selections during pre-season have indicated that 4-3-3 is perhaps his preferred formation, he admitted after Saturday’s game that he is considering switching to a back three or back five if needed.
Boothroyd is at least happy with how his side look going forwards. However, he said: "If we started the season with that team, we'd certainly do a lot better than we did last season, but we want a little bit more than that.
“While we have got lots of plusses, I don't want to end up with a team that's fabulously entertaining and wins games 4-3 but then gets beaten 5-3 - I rather win ten games 1-0 to be honest.
“It's a consistency, and we've got to get a consistency of understanding and a consistency of everybody knowing what they are doing on the pitch.
“That will come and that does take time. Maybe I'm a little bit impatient, but I think that has always been my biggest strength and my biggest weakness."