Luton boss confident Manchester United are in for a completely different game at Kenilworth Road

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Edwards feels Town are much better since Old Trafford defeat

Luton boss Rob Edwards is confident opponents Manchester United are in for a far different game at Kenilworth Road this afternoon from their reverse fixture with the Hatters earlier in the season.

Back in November, Town travelled to Old Trafford for their 12th top flight encounter of the campaign having won one and drawn three of their previous 11 matches. Although Luton managed to keep out their opponents in the first half, they were eventually unlocked on 59 minutes when Viktor Lindelof scored the only goal of the game, capitalising on the visitors’ inability to properly clear their lines from a corner.

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Erik ten Hag’s side went on to have 65 percent of the ball on the day, as Luton only really threatened when Carlton Morris’s first half header was excellently saved by Andre Onana. Since then, the Hatters have become a different proposition for Premier League teams to deal with though, winning four of their next 11 matches, scoring 23 goals in that time as well, to move out of the bottom three by a single point.

Alfie Doughty challenges Marcus Rashford during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in November - pic: Liam SmithAlfie Doughty challenges Marcus Rashford during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in November - pic: Liam Smith
Alfie Doughty challenges Marcus Rashford during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in November - pic: Liam Smith

With that in mind, discussing today’s fixture, Edwards said: “I think it will be a different game. We’re different from that game. There’s bits that we can learn and take, maybe some areas we can take a bit of confidence from from that game. There’s lots of things to like about that day, but when I watch it back, we are a different team now, which is really, really good, so I think Sunday will be a different type of fixture.

“We’re more aggressive in our pressing and we’re taking more of the ball, so on both sides of the game we’ve improved. We’re growing in confidence and belief, physically I think we’re a better team now. We’re used to the demands of the Premier League, we’re coping with that a lot better, so on all fronts really. We’re more threatening with the ball, we’re conceding less big chances, I know we’re coming off the back of conceding three goals at home which is disappointing for us, but in the main lots of our performance was good.

“We got punished a few times for some mistakes that are uncharacteristic for us, but I feel like we’re a more aggressive team now, that is brave and is growing into the league. We’re a good team and this league across the board, there’s good teams. We’ve got good individuals that are hard working, I feel like we’ve got a good plan and I think Kenilworth Road provides a unique experience. It’s intense, it’s tight, it’s on top of you and it is different to anywhere else, there’s no doubt about that.

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"It's a unique experience at home for us, but every team that has come here and been very professional and dealt with it well, so I think Manchester United will deal with it, as all the others have. But we’re going to be confident, we feel good at home, we're looking forward to it, it's going to be a great challenge for us and one that we will go into the game trying to win it.

Despite Luton having changed the perceptions about their survival hopes this season, Edwards was aware of the size of club they were coming up against and knows anything below their absolute best won’t be enough. He continued: “We have to try and play as well as we can, that’s obvious, for us to have any chance. If we play well hopefully we can knock them off their rhythm and not allow them to play the game they want. If they're allowed to play the game that they want, they'll be too good for us, so we’ve got to make sure we’re at it.

"We’ve got to make sure we compete, got to be brave and on the front foot, all the things that we have been of late and hopefully if we’re good then we can try and stop them from having that game they want to have. That will be our aim, so we’ll concentrate on our performance and if our performance is good then who knows, maybe we've got a chance. If we don't perform to our maximum then Manchester United will be too good, so we've got to look after ourselves.”

Much has been made about Kenilworth Road being a fortress for the Hatters this season, but they have been beaten seven times on home soil as opposed to six on the road, although drawing with Liverpool and running Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and Spurs extremely close. The Town chief doesn’t think United’s players will find the ground too much to handle though, adding: “It doesn’t matter, they're experienced, they're top players.

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"Every top player, every top side that has come to our stadium, our humble surroundings so far this season they've been really professional, done their job and done it really well, so I expect no different from Manchester United.”