Jones left feeling ‘sick’ by Hatters’ performance

Paddy McCourt escapes a challenge from former Town defender Luke Wilkinson
Paddy McCourt escapes a challenge from former Town defender Luke Wilkinson

An angry Hatters boss Nathan Jones declared he was left feeling ‘sick to his stomach’ by his side’s woeful display against Stevenage this afternoon.

Luton went down to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Michael Tonge’s late penalty, given for what looked like a clear dive by Ben Kennedy, but rather than concentrate on that controversial incident, Jones lambasted his players for their shocking performance from start to finish.

“I don’t work as hard as I do and my staff don’t to put up with performances like that, that’s not me.”

Nathan Jones

The Town chief said: “I feel sick to to the pit of my stomach. That’s not a side that I want to put out there, it was energy-less, it was heart-less, we had no desire for a derby game and the only thing I can say is I feel sick.

“We didn’t start the game well, we didn’t play with any desire, didn’t press, didn’t outwork Stevenage, we got outworked by Stevenage, we got out-pressed by Stevenage.

“The penalty was very, very soft, our penalty in the first half was more of one, but I would be a coward if I was going to blame the referee or have a go at the referee for that, because I had players out there who had no real desire about them in anything they did, how they went about the game.

“It would have been a great opportunity today, we’ve kept it quiet, but we would have been five points off it (top seven), but I just don’t think they wanted it enough.

“I think that’s been symptomatic all season, so we’ve given them a real good chance, now we’ve got some decisions to make.”

On just why Luton were so poor throughout the contest, Jones continued: “I think they’ve thought they’re a better side than what they are.

“They’ve stopped working, stopped doing the basics, stopped doing all the good things that we do week in week out.

“They didn’t do that today and that’s how we’ve ended up losing the game. Jack’s (Marriott) clean through one on one, should score, we hit the bar, had a penalty claim, they were the better chances of the game, so we didn’t take those for a start, but that would have masked a really weak performance.

“I can’t stand here and defend the performance because that’s as poor as we’ve had.

“Maybe we’ve got carried away with thinking we’re a good side as a leopard doesn’t change its spots and maybe we’ve seen that today.

“Maybe we’ve been over achieving in the last few games, I don’t think we have, but today was as poor as performance as I could have imagined us putting in, and as I said, I just feel sick.”

The futures of a few of Luton’s players could well be in doubt after this afternoon’s efforts too, as Jones has already confirmed he will be trimming the squad in the summer.

He admitted that certain individuals had helped make his mind up for him, adding: “I can’t think of one player, maybe Glen Rea that comes out of it with any real quality.

“Glen worked hard, won his headers, had a bit of desire, but I can’t really defend anyone else, I really, really can’t.

“That makes me sick to think in a derby we put in that kind of performance and I won’t be standing for that.

“I kind of know where we are now, it will rubber stamp a few things for me. It’s really given me an eye opener, I’m a big believer in changing something and making a difference, but if players are not grasping the mettle themselves then there’s only so much you can do.

“They’ve done fantastically well for me and even after defeats I keep saying it. Today was our worst performance, we were nowhere near, we really weren’t.

“I don’t work as hard as I do and my staff don’t to put up with performances like that, that’s not me.

“Moving forward we’ve got to be way, way better and we will be, but it might not be with one or two.”