“It was a reality check," said Neil Harris. “We have to fight and graft for everything we do in our careers. That’s the football club we are.
“I thought it was a competitive match for 25 minutes. We conceded a penalty and I felt mentality wise from then until the final fifteen minutes one team played it like a pre-season friendly and one team played it like a cup final. Full credit to Northampton on their performance and willingness to compete and fight.
“They were better than us. No complaints in the result but disappointed in my players.
“Today they did the dirty side better than us. The running stats they’ll be above us. The aerial duels they’ll be above us. The tackles they’ll be above us.
“These are the things we can’t lose on. We don’t often lose on them. It’s a reality check for everybody.
“There are standards I expect from my group. There was enough experience and quality in the squad to get through the tie. I said to the team at the end, we got sucker-punched by a team that wanted it more than us.
“What I can’t have is players that get run past or outfought. That is not acceptable. That’s not Cardiff City's traits. Not as a Club and not me as a manager.
“I hope that is gone. We have to learn from that as a group and as individuals and make sure we’re better for next week.
“You don’t just judge players over one 90 minutes in the cup ahead of the league season though. You judge them over a period of time. Some are a lot better players than they showed today.
"The standards will certainly be showing against Sheffield Wednesday."