Chris Wilder described the Cobblers’ capitulation to Bury at Sixfields as an ‘unacceptable performance’ and said his experienced players need to make big improvements on the way they played.
Town were well beaten on their own ground, losing 3-0 to renew fears about a relegation out of the Football League.
Wycombe’s draw at Scunthorpe means the gap to safety is back to three points and Northampton have a considerably worse goal difference than all of the teams above them, a factor not helped by heavy defeats like the one to Bury.
Wilder was brutally frank in his assessment of the team, who were booed off the pitch by their own supporters once again.
“That was an unacceptable performance,” he said. “The players seemed to be feeling sorry for themselves but with only few games to go they can’t do that.
“They cannot do that, they have to drive themselves and their team-mates on. They need to do better in all aspects of their game.
“I don’t take myself out of it, I never do that and I will always look at my own performance and if there were things I could have done better.
“We’ve got some experienced players and they’ve got to do better. We’ve got some big players who didn’t perform today.”
One factor in the team’s demise on Saturday was that they were forced to change from a wing-back system to a more traditional 4-4-2 set-up when Gregor Robertson was ill an hour before the game started.
Wilder did not use that disruption as an excuse and instead criticised the way his team gifted their opponents two poor goals.
“We had to change the way we set up before kick-off but we started quite well so that’s not an excuse,” he said. “I thought we shaded the opening period before we conceded a ridiculous goal.
“Then we’ve conceded a second and given ourselves a mountain to climb. We were the architects of our downfall and we had to chase the game again.
“I keep saying we need to score the first goal in games and we are not doing that.”