Hatters boss remains happy with side’s gameplan

Jonathan Smith stretches to win possession
Jonathan Smith stretches to win possession

Hatters boss John Still felt his side had executed their gameplan to perfection at times despite going down 2-1 to Portsmouth at Kenilworth Road yesterday.

The Town chief went with a 4-1-4-1 formation to begin with, allowing Pompey plenty of possession in their own half at times, with Hatters then trying to hit their opponents on the break.

Although Matt Tubbs stole the points with a late winner, Still was happy with how his tactics had panned out, as he said: “We know the type of game they play which is to try and keep it short and pass, I like our game to be a bit more high tempo and think we planned it perfectly.

“We broke out terrifically well and I thought the game was evenly balanced, with not a tremendous amount of efforts at goal from either side. We might have had more efforts, but goalkeepers weren’t flying across their goal making saves.

“I think we’re a decent defensive side and think circumstances in the last few games, Mark Tyler dropping one, which he wouldn’t normally do, Scott Cuthbert slipping, a clearance hitting one of our players, it’s football, it happens, so we’ve got to get on with it.”

Striker Josh McQuoid was deployed in a much wider role than in recent games, as aside from winning the penalty, much of his best work came in his own half, while he even found himself in the right back position at times.

When asked about his choice of system, Still continued: “What we looked at is we knew their full backs like to get forward, and we just felt if we can get Craig isolating people, we can go down the sides.

“We were going to take a chance at first and push our two wide people higher and let them have the ball because I think we can defend it well, but think that might have held them back.

“That was the spaces we wanted to do, so in terms of job for the team, he (McQuoid) did a great job for the team.”

Hatters had a great chance to go 2-1 up when Cameron McGeehan dragged wide from a good position just before the hour mark, as Still admitted he could stomach a loss if his side were pushing for victory.

He said: “I thought it was that sort of game. Halfway through the half we looked at it and said do we want to draw? Or do we want to win?

“Well I want to win, so we started pushing Cameron further forwards to take a chance, as I’d sooner lose trying to win.

“You’ve got to try and win in all the games we play and I thought the game was right for someone to pop up.

“Two or three times we broke out with good pace, good energy, Ryan Hall was getting a little bit of supply, you wait for the chance and it came to Cam and didn’t quite go.”

Meanwhile, after being critical of a minor section of support during his post match press conference after Tuesday night’s Capital Cup One clash against Stoke City, Still was quick to pay tribute to Hatters’ faithful, with over 9,000 inside Kenilworth Road.

He added: “I thought it was 100 per cent this time. We all have different views, my thing was a little bit for Scott Griffiths.

“Scott had a poor start to the season by his standards, I’m the manager, I’ll dig him out when he needs digging out.

“But he’s been fantastic here and taken a while to get into his game, he was terrific the other night, he was terrific again on Saturday.

“So well done you supporters because you got behind him and brought him up to the level he should be. The back four looked terrific, so I was really, really pleased.”