Hatters boss can't explain his side's poor returns after an international break
Luton boss Nathan Jones was at a loss to explain why his side continued their trait of being unable to win when returning to action following the international break during a 2-0 defeat at Derby County.
The Hatters have taken just one point from a possible nine on their first game back this term, losing to Stoke in October, drawing against Blackburn Rovers in November, and then beaten at Pride Park on Good Friday.
Town had gone into the contest on the back of some excellent form, with two triumphs in a row, as they also failed to register a third successive league victory, the third time they have stumbled just one short.
When asked if he could put a finger on the reasons behind their inability to succeed, Jones said: “I don’t know, just maybe a bit of rhythm.
“We train well, train hard, I don’t know, I really don’t, because we’ve gone into most international breaks off the back of a win, I think, and then come out and not backed them up.
“We’ve also gone two on the spin in wins and can’t get that third win on the spin.
“Last time it was Norwich and you think it’s a difficult one to come out and win the third, but today was a realistic one in terms of us feeling we could have won it.
“So it’s a bit frustrating for us, because we want to build, we want to move forward and if we don’t get wins, we can’t.
“It seems every time we come out of the international break we have two good weeks of real training, but we don’t come out in brilliant form.
"We usually go into it in very good form, but don’t come out of it, so that’s something we need to rectify.”
The hosts started by far the brighter on the day, moving ahead through Lee Gregory’s close range finish after just seven minutes with the Hatters not covering themselves in glory defensively.
It was the same after the break too, Luton conceding a penalty early on that Graeme Shinnie converted, to put the game beyond them.
Having had a fortnight off as well, Jones had anticipated a quicker opening to proceedings from his players, as he continued: “We should have been fresh ourselves.
"We’ve both had two weeks off, they’ve brought in (Martyn) Waghorn and (Tom) Lawrence, who are real quality and I thought Lawrence was probably the real difference today in terms of a little bit of quality in the final third.
“If we had demonstrated that, because we had more chances, we had more crosses, more possession and being in the away side that shows we’re in a better place.
"It’s just really disappointing as we say we do the basics well, we normally do the basics well over a long period of time in games, but today we didn’t and that’s cost us.”
Jones felt had his side produced a performance similar to the levels of discipline they showed at Preston North End in their last outing, it would have been enough to secure all three points against a Rams team struggling for points, going into the fixture without a win in seven.
He added: “I felt we came into the game in better form and we wanted to be really positive, we wanted to win the game.
“Nothing changes my mind that if we had just done the basics a little bit better we would have, as it’s not like Derby have done the basics better, as they haven’t.
“We’ve created more chances than Derby, clear-cut ones, and if we had just taken them, it could have been a different game, but we haven’t, so it’s all ifs.
“For large periods of time it was a good performance, just the periods right after the referee blew his first whistle in both halves, we were a bit lacklustre and that’s cost us the game, so credit to Derby.”