Hatters boss Nathan Jones branded his players as ‘imposters’ in the first half of their 6-2 thumping win over Solihull Moors in the FA Cup yesterday afternoon.
Luton looked like they were on their way out of the competition, with their opponents from the National League 2-0 ahead at the interval and every bit deserving of their lead.
The way we played, way we went about our work, with no intensity, things we did, they seemed like they were imposters.Nathan Jones
Although Town eventually hit back with six goals in the second 45 minutes, Jack Marriott and half time sub Stephen O’Donnell both netting doubles, speaking about their display in the opening period, Jones said: “I didn’t see the first half coming if I’m honest.
“We spoke all week about complacency, about starting well and about imposing ourselves on this team because I felt if we did that we’d win the game.
“Having watched them, I know what threats they’ve got. I felt we had too much, but the first half was baffling really.
“The way we played, way we went about our work, with no intensity, things we did, they seemed like they were imposters.
“Then second half we came out and we were scintillating, that was Luton Town second half, and we were absolutely outstanding.
“The way we moved the ball, had a clinical edge to us, the cutting edge on the counter attack was what we work on, what we are.
“It was a game of two halves, but I’m delighted to be in the hat.”
On what he said to his players at the break, Jones, who made just one substitution, bringing on O’Donnell for James Justin, he continued: “I’ve got no problem going mental with players, I didn’t have to do that.
“It was just a case of thinking, right okay. We had a long meeting, myself and staff and thought about how can we be calculated to get back into the game.
“We tweaked the shape slightly, we asked them to do certain things, in terms of where was the space, lets find it, lets create.
“We knew that our full backs would be the spare ones, so we made a change with Stephen as we know he’s very good going forward and it worked.
“Second half we played with more intensity, our centre halves started winning the ball to get us on the front foot, we started picking up seconds and then we started breaking and showed a real desire to go and get a goal.
“We did, then we got one straight away and then one pretty much straight away and the belief then drained from them and we went on.
“Six didn’t flatter us. It’s a little bit harsh on them after the first half performance they put in and the bravery they came here with, but I don’t think it flattered us.”
Changing ends with a two-goal deficit, Jones was well aware the importance of the next strike, with Luton getting it through top scorer Danny Hylton after just six minutes.
Johnny Mullins swiftly made it 2-2, before O’Donnell (59) and Marriott (63) put the hosts in front, with the pair adding late goals to complete the rout.
Jones said: “It was so important to halve the deficit really quickly, because what that does is give you an opportunity to get something from the tie.
“Now I always believe we can win the tie, if we get the first early. Then we said, get the second by 80 and then you can have a right go in the last 10.
“As it was, we got four in the first 12, so it kind of nullified that and we were excellent second half.”