Hatters boss: 'Phenomenal' Lee has a 'big heart'

Town chief thrilled to see attacker on the scoresheet

By Mike Simmonds
Sunday, 12th July 2020, 8:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:10 pm
Elliot Lee celebrates his goal with boss Nathan Jones
Elliot Lee celebrates his goal with boss Nathan Jones

Hatters goalscorer Elliot Lee has been hailed by manager Nathan Jones for the manner in which he has bounced back from a tough season personally at Kenilworth Road.

The 25-year-old had expected his Town career to be over in the summer, left out for long periods by previous boss Graeeme Jones, as after starting the opening game of the campaign, he played just a further 34 minutes of Championship football.

However, since Jones returned as Luton chief during lockdown, Lee went gone straight back into the squad after the season resumed, starting four of the six games, and netted his first league goal of the term in the 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town on Friday night.

On scoring, Lee, who has spoken honestly about his frustration at falling out of favour under the previous manager, ran straight over to the bench to celebrate with Jones, who said: “He’s been brilliant for me.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, or anything, but when we’ve had Elliot at this football club, myself, when he’s played for me, he’s been excellent.

“At League One, League Two, he was phenomenal, a phenomenal player.

“He wants to get on it, has an eye for goal, technically superb and he has a big heart.

"When things are happening when teams are pressing, he will have the ball.

“He’s a brave little player and that’s what I like about him and that’s what we brought him here for.

"I’m delighted for him as he’s had to be patient, work hard, and he has.

“He’s a great kid.”

Lee’s goal, his first in the Championship and 29th in 104 matches for Town was a quite brilliant strike too.

After Luke Berry released James Collins on the right, the Town striker advanced into the area and hammered against the post.

Lee still having plenty to do from there, showing great determination to get to the loose ball ahead of his marker and then superb technique to beat keeper Jonas Lossl.

Jones continued: “It was a great ball from Luke Berry, he did the same the other night for Harry Cornick, a great through ball, perfect weight, a wonderful goal.

“James was unlucky to hit the post, but Elliot following up, it gave us a real good cushion.

“You know you’re on a knife edge edge especially away from home when it's 1-0, when they they start going long and putting a big man on.

"But I thought both centre halves, back four, everyone defended so well, put in a massive shift and I'm so proud."

After not getting the second goal in midweek as Barnsley hit back to grab a point, Jones was relieved to see his side give themselves some breathing space this time.

He added: "It alleviates late pressure, but I thought we saw out the game really, really well.

"Simon (Sluga) had one cross to deal with that could have gone anywhere, so we had a little bit of luck there, but apart from the Reading game we've been excellent.

"Against Barnsley we were very tactically aware, could have held out, a scrappy goal got them back, we then go down the other other and we felt we didn't quite get the rub of the green on Tuesday night.

"But to respond so, so well and after getting beaten by five, conceding the late goal, it shows the character that this group has.

"To come here and get that result, I'm really proud of them."