Chris Wilder described the Cobblers’ Capital One Cup tie at Bournemouth as a game too far and one that pushed his team to full intensity.
Town were knocked out of the competition at the second stage and in emphatic fashion by a Cherries side who ran out convincing 3-0 winners.
Wilder offered no excuses for the defeat, admitting his team were well beaten by a very strong Sky Bet Championship team.
“I thought they (Bournemouth) were very good,” he said. “Our sports science guy does a question after every training session and every game where he asks the players how hard they’ve worked on a scale of one to 10.
“They’ve all said, in terms of toughness and the physicality of it, that it was a 10 tonight, 10s all round.
“Their movement was really good and we struggled to get hold of it - I expect them to be a top Championship side with the players that they’ve got.
“It was a game too far for us maybe tonight and we have to move on quickly and make sure we get three points from the Exeter City game this weekend.”
There was no repeat of the first-round heroics at Molineux, where Northampton beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2.
The main reasons for that, Wilder felt, were that Bournemouth were well on top of their game and Northampton did not take the scant chances that came their way.
“We’ve played two good Championship sides in this competition and while Wolves had an off night and we took our chances, Bournemouth didn’t have an off night and we didn’t take our chances,” he said.
“In the reports we had on them we knew they would be very good on the ball but susceptible to the set-piece so we targeted that and had a couple of good chances.
“But you’ll come unstuck against quality sides if they play well. In the first five minutes their lad hit a volley from the edge of the box that was a brilliant shot.
“I was delighted with how we played in the second half but we never deserved to get through - the opposition was far superior to us and we hold our hands up to that.”