Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted his desire for absolute honesty from his staff was the reason behind his ‘telling off’ from assistant Paul Hart after last week’s 2-1 victory at Wycombe Wanderers.
After late, late goals from Scott Cuthbert and James Collins had led Luton to a remarkable triumph, the Town chief revealed in his post match interview that he had received a ‘rollicking’ from the former Barnsley, Leeds and Nottingham Forest manager.
A lot people made a big thing of it, but I have heated conversations with Paul Hart every single week.Nathan Jones
On just what Hart had told him, speaking at his press conference yesterday, Jones said: “The things that I do, I prepare meticulously, I have a way of playing, and sometimes when that doesn’t work, I beat myself up about that, and maybe I say, ‘could I have done more?’
“And he said, no, some days, we give them a lot of information, we work on stuff regularly, if it doesn’t come off, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s my fault.
“He was saying sometimes, other people have got to take responsibility, so that’s what it was. “A lot people made a big thing of it, but I have heated conversations with Paul Hart every single week. I ask for honesty, especially from him and Mick Harford at this football club.
“I speak to them, I say ‘I want honesty from you, you’re both experienced, I can learn from you, I need honesty, brutal honesty,’ and he did.
“Sometimes I will beat myself up about it, I will take responsibility for defeats or errors because I’m the manager, but sometimes they say to me, that’s not necessary.
“He was just saying to me, we set up a way of playing, we have a way of playing, we didn’t quite do that first half, is that my fault for how we prepared? And it wasn’t.
“So I have heated conversations with Paul Hart on a regular basis, we’re fantastic friends, we’re very good company together, and when he talks I listen.
“I don’t always do it, but I evaluate, as that’s why he’s here.
“If I wanted someone just to be a yes man and tell me how good I was, or tell me how good looking I was, then it wouldn’t be him, and he tells me every day and that’s the way it is, nothing more, nothing less.
“We both have exactly the same ideas on how the game should be played, hence I’ve learned from a lot from him when I worked with him, so in terms of systems and everything, we are purely at one with that.
“Me being a young manager, I work hard, I take responsibility on myself and on others when I ask others to do different things, if that doesn’t quite come off, I normally accept responsibility.
“Whereas he says to me, no sometimes, players take responsibility, you had to do it, he had to do it, I had to do it as a player, so that’s what it was.”
Jones went on to praise the backroom team he has assembled at Kenilworth Road too, for helping him learn the ropes in what has been his first taste of management since joining from Brighton where he was first team coach.
He added: “I’ve got wonderful staff here, I really have.
“I’ve got a sports scientist (Jared Roberts-Smith) who’s the best I know.
“I’ve got a Spanish innovative first team coach (Joaquin Gomez) that gives me different ideas and different solutions to stuff, and then I’ve got Paul who’s a real stalwart, coupled with experience I get from Mick.
“I have debrief meetings with those, I have evaluation meetings, I have, appraisal stuff, so what I ask from them is pure honesty, give me honesty, we won’t fall out.
“Sometimes those conversations are heated, that’s what I want, I want honesty from them, because I want to learn, I don’t want to stand still and if that means that I’m doing something wrong, then fine.
“At this point, I don’t think I am, but it’s always nice to have an opinion.
“It was a heated game the other day and we had to really dig in and really find something, and if we’d done that first half then we might not have needed to do it in the 90th and 98th.”