Winning ugly is of no concern to O’Donnell

Hatters defender Stephen O'Donnell
Hatters defender Stephen O'Donnell

Hatters full back Stephen O’Donnell is not worried if his side have to win ugly against Oxford United this afternoon.

The defender knows that Luton’s tally of 54 goals shipped this term is not good enough, however they have improved in recent games, particularly on the road, keeping clean sheets at Wycombe, Plymouth and Leyton Orient.

Stephen O'Donnell is hauled back against Dagenham

Stephen O'Donnell is hauled back against Dagenham

Speaking after Town’s 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night, O’Donnell said: “I think the goals we’ve tended to concede this season have been scrambles, flick ons, not dealing with the second balls, and the gaffer said at the weekend it’s the ugly side we need to tighten up on in both boxes.

“We need to finish better and defend better as on another night they (Dagenham) maybe get the draw. But we have played a lot of games this season, especially at home in the last three four months where we’ve dominated and deserved to win and we haven’t.”

Hatters did have that rare winning feeling at Kenilworth Road in midweek, as although the struggler visitors had some late chances to snatch a point, hitting the bar in the closing stages, O’Donnell felt his side can build on their efforts prior to half time.

He said: “I couldn’t care less if they had a couple of chances and we won, as the first half display we can build on that.

“The first half is what the gaffer is wanting, what he’s demanding and I think whether it’s not for the rest of this season or next season, the style of play is hopefully something that will entertain the fans and get a brand of football they can be proud of.

“But it’s baby steps, the gaffer’s only been here three months, so it’s coming together.

“It (Tuesday night) gives us lots of positive, lots of negatives as well, but everyone can be better in the final third, defensively and not switching off too.

“The one that flicked on at the end they could have scored, that can’t happen, whether it’s 1-0 of 4-0, we need to cut that out and when we do cut those things out, one goal is good enough.

“We got back on the winning track and gave the fans something to cheer about and hopefully they’ll have a lot more to cheer about in the future.”

O’Donnell was aware that Town’s lack of goals has affected them this season, as they went three games without scoring at home until Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu fired home.

He continued: “The gaffer had emphasised a couple of things he wanted, a goal in the first half, a clean sheet and a win, and if we get two of them we’re going to be happy, so it was nice to do all three.

“Again, like the last three or four or five weeks when we’ve been winning, we made it hard for ourselves, we miss chances and then a couple of sloppy mistakes at the end which could have cost us.

“If we keep a clean sheet, tighten up and do our job defensively which we haven’t done a lot of the season then we don’t need the strikers to score more, but it would be nice if they did.”

The clean sheet impressed O’Donnell though, as he added: “Defintely, we’ve come away slightly proud, we’d like to say we’ve done our job, but this gaffer is emphasising not about the defence, it’s about the team.

“The team wants a clean sheet and the team wants goals, if we miss chances it’s the team that misses chances, if we keep clean sheets, it’s the team that keeps clean sheets.

“The thing we massively need to stress for the rest of this season and then next season that we’re a team and make sure we go forward as a group.”