An ‘embarrassed’ Luton Nathan Jones accepted full responsibility for picking what he felt was the ‘wrong team' against Cardiff City this afternoon, the Hatters making it four games without a win when going down to a 2-1 defeat.
The Luton chief made five changes from the goalless draw with Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, restoring Simon Sluga, Amari’i Bell, Glen Rea, Jordan Clark and Harry Cornick to the team, James Shea, Fred Onyedinma, Henry Lansbury, Allan Campbell and Admiral Muskwe making way.
Although Clark drew Luton level midway through the second half, as he along with Kal Naismith, Elijah Adebayo and Sluga were the only four to avoid criticism from the manager, Town were nowhere near their best during the 90 minutes at Kenilworth Road, losing for a third game in a row against their Welsh opponents.
Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “We didn’t do what we do best, we weren’t aggressive enough, we ducked headers, we weren’t dominant, we let them dominate us, let them be more aggressive than us, fifty-fifty’s in the middle of the park, we lost, we pulled out of it, we didn’t do it.
"All over there were little bits, the margins and we were a mile off, we didn't deserve anything today and I'm a little bit, if I’m honest with you, this is as embarrassed as I’ve been as a Luton manager.
“I know we’ve lost 5-0 to Birmingham here, but there's rationale behind it.
“Today I freshened it up, we worked on our play, a mile off.
“For this game, I accept full responsibility as I picked the wrong team to win a game today, that was my fault.
“They’re a great group, to be where we are, we’re over achieving, let's not forget that.
"We want to push, want to push, want to push, but fundamentally we have to make sure that we are an established Championship side, that’s first and foremost.
“Today I’m saying, as they've been excellent and they are excellent, and they are a great group to work with, and I love working with them, but today against Cardiff City, again, I've picked the wrong team to play and to win a game against them and that's my fault.
"I’m regretting it (team selection) and I do it every time.
“I make the same errors and I’m learning as a manager, but I pull people out of the team that were excellent in midweek to freshen it up.
“I go big, strong, and ironically, we play three centre halves and they score from two crosses in the box, so I’m better off going a little bit brave, bolder in my selection process.
“I picked certain people today and in my mind, I’m thinking, 'they’ve done really well this season,' but against Cardiff they don’t and they haven’t done well against Cardiff.
“We’ve got a poor record against Cardiff here, and other teams enjoy playing against Cardiff at the minute in their run of form.
“We usually kick Cardiff’s run and that’s I think just a lack of bravery all over, whether that’s in the clinches, whether that’s in battle, whether that’s in bravery to get on it and dominate, we didn't.
"We’ve played Cardiff when we’ve been in good form and we've been beaten three times, 4-0, 2-0, 2-1.
"It's not from anything elaborate, they don’t carve us open, we haven't had to hold our hands up and go 'wow, they're a good side.'
"They just put the ball in our box and we don’t handle it and it wasn't set-plays today where they were dangerous, and I picked a side to combat set-plays, but I’m not doing that again.”