Hatters chief hails Town's 'magnificent' fans as he declares 'we're back!'

Jones full of praise for Luton's support at the Den

Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:56 am
Town boss Nathan Jones celebrates his side's 2-0 win at Millwall on Saturday

Luton boss Nathan Jones believes his relationship with the supporters is back to where it was once more before he controversially left the club to join Stoke City in January 2019.

The Hatters chief opted to move to the Potters, then a league above Town, almost three years ago, but only lasted eight months at the Bet 365 Stadium, sacked with the team second bottom of the Championship.

He returned to Luton in May of last year to mastermind the Great Escape, picking up 16 points from a possible 27 to stay in the Championship against all the odds.

After a campaign in which fans were then not allowed to watch matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, barring two home games when a total of three thousand could attend, Jones’ first real reintroduction to the Luton faithful came this term, with social distancing measures finally relaxed.

He has had an excellent response too, none more so than at the Den on Saturday when 1,600 sung their hearts out for the 90 minutes, giving the manager and his players a terrific reception at the final whistle, following a first win at Millwall since May 1999.

On sharing that moment with the travelling support, Jones said: “I think we’re back now, we've turned a corner.

“We’ve had our initial bridge-building sessions, we’ve understood and now we’re back to the levels we were a few years ago in terms of the results, performances.

“They get behind us and that’s really good to see so I'm really, really pleased with the fans.

“They were magnificent and it's a good place to come this, it's a tough place to come, the fans are tough.

“To come here and if you wilt, or you're a little bit scared, or you’re a shrinking violet, you'll go under here.

“I used to love it as a player as it tested my character, and my players got tested today.

"A year ago I'm not sure they stood up to it, today they did.”

While the Luton followers were left thrilled with what their side was producing, the home fans quickly turned on their own manager Gary Rowett, with jeers from the stands at half time.

They increased during the second period as Cornick doubled the advantage with his second goal of the game, and it was something the attacker was happy to hear.

He said: “It was part of our gameplan really to keep them quiet for the first 20 minutes because know it’s a hostile place.

"We know for the first 20 minutes they're going to be right after you, come after you and you’ve just got to weather the storm almost and then get your chance and take it, then they start turning on them.

"You hear our fans chanting all game on, it does spur you on, it does really help.

"Our fans are unbelievable, I don't know how many we took, but it’s unbelievable support for the away fans to come.

"Our away fans are the best in the league, you always hear them, they're always chanting and they’re always supportive, always positive, which is lovely.”

Meanwhile, Jones felt his side were thoroughly deserving of their win on the day, as he added: “We asked for three things today, win the battle, be bold and brave as if you come to Millwall you've got to be bold and brave as if you’re not, the crowd get up, tails get up and it’s a very difficult place to come, and then be clinical.

"Those are the three things we asked for and we were today as I thought at times we took the sting out of the game.

"The crowd wasn’t an extra man for them because of how we played.

"We moved the ball really well, we hit the bar, had glorious chances, they’ve had one chance, the penalty, which you expect them to score, but apart from that I thought we thoroughly deserved the win, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful by that.

"But as an away side coming into it, the way we worked, pressed, the way we defended our box, the way we moved the ball and the opportunities that we created, it’s always tight games against Millwall, but I felt we deserved it.”