Jones full of admiration for his Luton players during Leeds defeat

Matt Pearson saw this goal disallowed against Leeds on Saturday
Matt Pearson saw this goal disallowed against Leeds on Saturday

Town boss Graeme Jones was full of admiration for his side after they almost picked up a crucial Championship point in their 2-1 defeat against Leeds United on Saturday.

The promotion-chasing visitors, as expected, dominated proceedings in terms of possession and shots, with 75 per cent of the play, and 21 attempts at the Hatters’ goal.

However, a combination of some dogged defending and inspired saves by keeper James Shea ensured Town were level at 1-1 going into the final minute.

Then, Matty Pearson turned Mateusz Klich’s cross into his own net under pressure from Patrick Bamford to make it five straight defeats for the Hatters.

Jones couldn’t fault the effort he had witnessed from his charges though, saying: “I was delighted with aspects of the performance apart from the final result.

“There comes a point where you have to admire the boys who gave absolutely everything, they were just three minutes short really of getting a result.

“If our ratio is one in the next 17 games for a poor performance, I’ll take it now, but obviously we have to turn those performances into points.

“Now these are the best team in the league, I’ve analysed them enough to say that.

“I see them cutting through teams and I mean at will, and they had more shots than us, they had possession, but we were always in the game, and that’s the satisfying aspect.”

After going down to a limp 3-0 reverse at Reading before the international break, Jones felt he saw a major improvement in his side during the 90 minutes at Kenilworth Road.

He continued: “I said to the boys afterwards, I just want the same, if you keep giving me that, we’ll win games, we’ll get points.

“I think one v one duels we were better, our blocking was better, we stopped crosses better, our communication was better, we penetrated better, set-pieces for was better, set-pieces against was better.

“We’ve done a hell of a lot of work in 13 days, 13 days from the Reading game, and I’ve seen the benefit.

“I’ve got to measure my work and the player’s work and sometimes individual incidents can disguise that and I’m not going to let it.

“The boys know we’ve got to get football results, that’s the industry we’re all in, but I want the same on Tuesday now (against Charlton).”

Although the result saw Town ultimately drop into the bottom three, after Sunday’s game between Middlesbrough and Hull City finish in a 2-2 draw, Jones felt the performance showed a real level of unity at the club.

He added: “It’s easy to come in and say ‘it’s your fault, you should have stopped the cross, you should have gone with Bamford.’

“My staff and my players are together, and the only challenge is, I want the same, can you do it for another three minutes?

“I think they had one clear-cut chance first half where James makes a double save, so I’ve got a straight choice, I can look at the negatives and blame people, or I can look at the positives and take them forward and that’s what I’m choosing to do.

“It would be easy for me to be critical and blame, I’m not that type, it’s us together, it’s the staff and the boys.

“You know when players are giving you everything and are playing for you.

"I’ve got no questions over the lads and I’d rather use today as a measurement of improvement.”