Jones didn't need to read the riot act to Town squad to get the response he wanted after Cardiff loss

Hatters manager insists players aren't lacking in confidence ahead of Blackpool trip

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 9:13 am
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 9:24 am
Hatter boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones admitted he didn’t need to read the riot act to his players during training this week to get the response he was after following last weekend's disappointing 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City.

The Town chief had criticised a number of his squad for showing a lack of bravery during the contest at Kenilworth Road, which saw Luton conceded twice to unmarked headers, as their winless run extended to four matches.

With a trip to Blackpool on the horizon, Jones insisted he had been pleased with what he had witnessed at the Brache ahead of their journey to Bloomfield Road, as he said: “It’s been as I expected, we have had a good response.

“It’s not often we get a poor performance but the other day I just felt that we weren’t brave enough, we didn’t show any courage in possession or defensively really because we shouldn’t have lost that game.

“We didn’t play with any real energy first half, conceded a poor goal and when we then started to turn into ourselves and got the goal, I expected us to go on and win the game but we didn’t and another lapse cost us.

“It is the frustrating thing and that is something we have to eradicate.

“They know what type of team we are, they know where we are and they know they let themselves down, not me or the club necessarily but themselves as well.

“They’re such a good group that, yes there’s certain outstanding individuals, but I don’t need to tell them.

"They’re a good group of players, they want to get better, I can reiterate to them, that's why sometimes I don’t go mental with them as I know they just need solutions and not a rod in terms of stuff.

"They know they’ve let themselves down, they have ambitions, they’re hungry, they’re not content to be in the position we’re in.

"They want to achieve something extraordinary, something really special, so they don’t need that and when they come back into training, I get the same level from them.”

Jones also took the responsibility for the defeat as well, as making five changes to his side, he admitted later that he had picked the wrong team to face the Bluebirds, a team Luton have now lost all five meetings against since returning to the Championship.

He continued: “That is what you have a squad for and that is the biggest thing about being a manager – picking the team, setting the tactics and implementing them.

"Being a coach you get the players ready physically and mentally, the manager then has the decision and that is what you are judged on.

"When things go well, the manager gets a lot of praise but when things don’t, that is when it falls on the manager, so I accept full responsibility because in hindsight, I could have picked a different team.

"Going into the game, I felt it was a team that if it was at it, would have won the game.”

Since reaching the heights of fifth after beating Hull City, a run of one point from 12 has seen Town drop down the table in a similarly swift fashion to the manner in which they climbed it, now in 15th, eight points away from the top six, but still nine clear of the bottom three.

Jones didn’t believe his players were suffering from a lack of confidence though, adding: "I think they are a confident group.

"Our numbers back up to where we should be and in training there is no sign of anything like that but when you cross the white line you have to turn that into a performance.

"We were excellent at Forest, excellent at QPR and sometimes I can stomach a defeat or a draw but when we’re not ourselves that is when it is disappointing.”