Harford gutted to miss out on 'massive bonus' of Chelsea trip

Hatters interim boss Mick Harford couldn’t hide his frustration that the club had missed out on the chance to go to Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round after being knocked out by Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

Saturday, 19th January 2019, 8:06 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:57 pm
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu plays the ball wide against Sheffield Wednesday

Atdhe Nuhiu’s goal just moments after the interval was enough to win the third round replay in midweek and sent the Owls to Stamford Bridge.

Victory would have been a hefty boost to the coffers for Luton, with the game broadcast live on the BBC, as Harford said: “With the carrot that was at the end of it, Chelsea away, it’s really, really disappointing, as I just think the effort the players put in, and the backing they got from the supporters was brilliant.

“They know that what the important thing is though, we know what the important thing is, but we just want to win football matches.

“We want to beat Sheffield Wednesday, we want to beat the next opposition, it’s Chelsea, it would have been a massive, massive bonus for everyone, everyone of us.

“It’s just disappointing that we won’t be going down there, and there would have been 10,000 Luton fans down there, we would have taken over the capital.

“That’s disappointing for the players not get the opportunity to play against top players."

Midfielder Luke Berry was also frustrated, more in the fact that they had tasted a rare defeat though, saying: “In the first leg, we didn’t even know we were playing Chelsea and we thought we could have won that game.

"It’s just every game we want to try and win, we’re just disappointed we didn’t win today."

Despite losing for the first time at home this season, Harford felt the Hatters had more than matched their opponents from a level above, saying: "I thought we dominated in terms of chances and corners and possession.

"But these are a Championship team and if you give them a chance, they’ll nick a goal off you.

"It was a scruffy old goal, but they’ll be delighted, we’re so delighted with the performance and the effort the players are putting in."

Harford wasn't particularly impressed with the goal that settled the tie, as he continued: "You look at football all round the world and everyone wants to play the perfect game, everyone wants to pass it on the floor, but they’re the things that count.

"Set-plays, scruffy goals, you make sure the nuts and bolts of the football’s right and we do that.

"We’re just disappointed that it was a goal. When the goal went in, we settled down again and practically dominated them all second half.

"We went 4-2-4, we changed shape a couple of times and was just one of those unlucky evenings where it kicks you in the teeth really."

Town had the better of the game for large periods, winning 14 corners to the Owls' five, with 17 shots to 13 as well.

Harford added: "That shows the domination we had in terms of the game in patches.

"They’re a good team Sheffield Wednesday, you know they’re going to hurt you, they've got international players in their team with the likes of (Barry) Bannan and (Steven) Fletcher.

"They’re difficult to deal with, but I thought overall, we were more than a match for them.

"We dominated them, we kept them pressed in, especially second half and just unfortunate not to get that goal.

"On any other given day we would have run away winners quite comfortably."