Jones can't hide his frustration as Luton are undone by crosses once more

Town chief blasts 'suicidal defending' from his players in Cardiff defeat

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 29th November 2021, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:07 pm
Town's players begin the inquest after Cardiff make it 2-1 at Kenilworth Road
Town's players begin the inquest after Cardiff make it 2-1 at Kenilworth Road

Luton boss Nathan Jones knows full well that his side's worrying trait of gift-wrapping goals to opposition sides from crosses is becoming a real cause for concern.

The Hatters were beaten 2-1 by Cardiff on Saturday, both strikes coming when the Bluebirds sent balls into the Town box, with Rubin Colwill and then Sean Morrison left completely unmarked to head beyond an exposed Simon Sluga.

It was the same at QPR recently, Charlie Austin in acres of space to head in, while the games against Stoke City and Middlesbrough saw the visitors sides score from virtually carbon copy attempts, a right wing cross not closed down and Luton's back-line only able to watch both Jacob Brown and Josh Coburn convert after being given the freedom of the area.

Although on the whole, Jones' side haven't been giving up too many others opportunities during the games, when they do, they usually end up being breached, with five of the last seven shots on target ending up in the back of Luton's net.

When asked how much of a worry the amount of times they have conceded from crosses was Jones said: “If I was watching us I’d be saying that, but it shouldn’t be, as we don’t concede much.

“We don’t concede many crosses, we don’t concede many chances, but when we do, when someone does put a ball in, it's costing us at the minute and we’re putting in more and better than others.

“The ball in (by Kal Naismith) for Tom Lockyer's effort is as good a ball as you’ll see, he's just got to guide it on target, puts it over, it’s one of those things.

“Goals change games though, in everything, as we've seen before.

“Bournemouth away, on top, start brilliantly, have a chance, don’t take it, three minutes later we’re two down.

"Goals changes games in every single level of football, if we don't take ours and we’re weak in one end, then that's what happens.”

The manner in which both Cardiff goals came about was particularly frustrating for Jones, as he had picked a side to counter their aerial threat, and also warned his players extensively about what to expect from the Bluebirds in the build-up to the game.

He continued: "It (second goal) came about as first of all we play and we panic, we give the ball away, then it goes to Ryan Giles who whips it in and we’ve got three v three on the back stick.

“One of their three goes in and none of our three go in, they score.

“He’s just touched it and whipped it, which we know he does as we watch it and we put it on the video.

"We do a unit meeting and an individual meeting and a team meeting, so they know that Ryan Giles whips in behind.

"They had three at the back stick and we had three, they run in and we didn’t.

“Same first half, Glen Rea is with him (Colwill), he ambles off Glen, he allows him to go in, Sonny Bradley is there, he goes off the back of Sonny Bradley, Sonny doesn't mark, they have a free header.

"They didn’t have to work hard, we didn't defend, we had three centre halves in there and a defensive midfield player and weren't good enough.

"It’s suicidal defending, but I take responsibility, not my players.

"I’ll take responsibility, because I've been let down in the past against Cardiff City, when I picked certain players and I've done it again and that’s my fault.”

Luton's own issues at the other end were shown once again as although they finally ended a goal drought stretching at just over six hours, Jordan Clark notching his first of the season, it was the only attempt on target from the 12 they mustered.

Jones knows that must be rectified if Town want to show how much they are progressing as a side this term, adding: "We’ve had so many shots in recent weeks and to score, to get it on target is an individual thing.

"Some days they get blocked as it’s good defending, but we’ve had enough shots.

"Tom Lockyer has had a glorious header, we’ve put as good a balls in as they’ve put in, they’ve scored two, we haven’t and that’s the tale of the game.

"We’re a mile away, but we’re not, but we are, as lets be honest with you, we say that statistically we’re good, when I was at Stoke I was top six statistically and I lost my job in November.

"That means statistics don’t mean anything unless you put the ball in the net.

"Today we were a mile off on every single level, individually and collectively.

"There were three or four at an absolute push that I thought was excellent, apart from that, a mile off.

“There was a strong wind out there and I don’t think Cardiff had many opportunities, they had one cross in the first half, where we didn’t do well, didn’t recover and they scored from that.

"Then they come out, for five minutes they were better than us and then for five minutes we were on the front foot, got the goal, you expect us to go on from there.

"We’ve had corners, but we weren't us today and I should have known that from our track record and I’m to blame today."