Jones critical of his side's attempts to contain Rangers striker Charlie Austin during QPR defeat

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu goes in for a challenge with QPR striker Charlie AustinTown midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu goes in for a challenge with QPR striker Charlie Austin
Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu goes in for a challenge with QPR striker Charlie Austin
Hatters chief felt back four dropped far too much in midweek reverse

Luton boss Nathan Jones was critical of his side’s defending during their 2-0 defeat against QPR on Tuesday night, particularly their approach to trying to contain experienced striker Charlie Austin.

The visitors came into the game on the back of a 10-game winless run, but were by far the better side for long periods.

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They opened the scoring before the break through, that man Austin getting his first goal on his second debut for the R’s after joining from West Bromwich Albion, nodding home from a matter of yards.

Mark Warburton’s side then sealed victory in the final minute, Glen Rea’s error pounced on by the visitors, with Macauley Bonne side-footing passed an exposed Simon Sluga.

Jones said: “When your back four drops pretty much beyond the stand, then it’s quite easy to get it in and with all due respect, Charlie Austin is a very good target man, a very good box man, but he’s not going run behind you.

“He’s not going to stretch you, he’s not going to frighten the life out of you with pace, so I don’t know why our back four dropped and gave him enough space to get into feet, to get into chest, to set, and then to dictate play.

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“That was our own fault as if we’d have been slightly braver and been on the front foot then our front bunch could have gone pressing, our midfield could have got tighter, then our back four would have been right up close, because realistically, none of those are going to run in behind you.

“That’s the thing that I was really disappointed with as we couldn’t get on the front foot as we weren’t brave.”

Jones could be heard bellowing those exact instructions to his back-line during the game, but they appeared to fall on deaf ears for much of the first half in particular.

When asked how frustrating that was, the boss continued: “We work on what we do and we’ve been very good at it.

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“Against Millwall away we weren’t brave and we dropped and we allowed pressure and then when you’ve got big men that can get territory, you spend a lot of time in and around your box and then you’re susceptible, and that’s what happened.

“So you have to be brave, if you’re not brave then people tend to think that dropping is a safety net, it’s not against certain sides.

“Against Man City for example you might have to deny space as they can carve you right open, but with respect, some teams are not Man City.

“It’s just disappointing as normally we play front-footed and tonight we couldn’t or we didn’t, for large periods of the first half.

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“Second half we did, and I was much happier with the overall performance, but we’ve got to show more quality in the moments that we get.

“The disappointing thing for me is we weren’t the best version of ourselves, if we were the best version of ourselves, that’s a different game, whether we win the game or not, it’s a different game.”

The Hatters weren't without their chances, James Collins slicing badly wide when clean through just after half time, while late on, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was denied by keeper Seny Dieng and substitute George Moncur blazed over.

However, they couldn't make amends for what was an awful opening 45 minutes, in a game that Jones had targeted to get something from, with trips to Bournemouth and Brentford on the immediate horizon.

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He added: "It’s really disappointing, we started the first 10 minutes really well, front-footed, stuck to the gameplan, then the rest of the first half we were really passive, dropped right off, allowed them to do what they wanted with the football.

"There was no aggression, no pressure on the ball and that‘s been absolutely the polar opposite of how we’ve been here, and that’s been the really disappointing thing.

"Second half we came out, we wanted to step on to them, we went back to the original gameplan, and we did.

"We had a glorious chase straight away (through James Collins), we had a lot of opportunities in and around their box, without having the quality to punish, because we did have a lot of situations.

"Then when we’re chasing the game we get by a sucker punch, but it's really disappointing as this was a game we felt it was was a real opportunity."

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