Luton boss Edwards explains his four changes and tactical tweak at Craven Cottage

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Town chief changes things up for Fulham trip

Town boss Rob Edwards explained his reasoning behind the four changes he made for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Fulham on Saturday which led to a first significant tweaking of his formation since the Hatters made their return to the top flight.

The Luton chief opted to hand Albert Sambi Lokonga his first start after the midfielder arrived on loan from Arsenal, with fit-again skipper Tom Lockyer returning to the defence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Also back in was Manchester City loanee Issa Kabore, as summer signing Jacob Brown made his full Premier League debut as well, Elijah Adebayo, Ryan Giles and Alfie Doughty dropping to the bench, Ross Barkley missing due to a hamstring injury.

Rob Edwards gets his point across during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Fulham - pic: Christopher Lee/Getty ImagesRob Edwards gets his point across during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Fulham - pic: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Rob Edwards gets his point across during Luton's 1-0 defeat at Fulham - pic: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

It saw the visitors line up in a different manner when out of possession to their previous trips to Stamford Bridge and the Amex Stadium, Carlton Morris as the lone striker, with two banks of four behind him.

Although they had to spend plenty of the game chasing their opponents, Fulham having 78 per cent of the ball, the tactics worked to a large degree, the Cottagers only managing two shots on target the whole game.

One was from Harry Wilson’s long range free kick gathered by Thomas Kaminski, but unfortunately the other ended up in the back of the net, Carlos Vinicius pouncing after Kaminski had failed to hold Willian’s left wing cross.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Discussing his decision to alter the side, and going for Scottish international Brown alongside Morris from the start for the first time, Edwards said: “We tweaked the shape as it suited Browny a little bit more to play slightly wider and cover the spaces.

"We wanted to utilise his work-rate, his effort, but his speed on transition as well, so we covered the spaces a little bit more and didn’t necessarily play with the two upfront out of possession.

“I think we’ve been worked from side to side in the previous two games a little bit too easily.

"We want to try and cover the space and then we want to try and flip it and be a threat on the counter attack with our speed with Browny and Chongy (Tahith Chong) from the wider areas.

"Again I felt it worked very, very well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I thought tactically the boys were spot on, lots of rotation from Fulham, but they didn't really cause a problem.

"Even after half time, yes they had more of the ball, but they struggled to break us down, so that was the thinking behind those changes anyway.”

After falling behind on 62 minutes, Edwards rang the changes in the closing stages, bringing on Chiedozie Ogbene, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Doughty and Adebayo with a quarter of hour to go, soon followed by Cauley Woodrow, as it clearly pepped up his side’s attacking efforts, Town beginning to look the team more likely to find a goal.

The boss continued: “We have to try and stay in the game.

"It’s important we don’t go 2-0 down, so we have to try and maintain a presence in the game by staying in it and keeping it at 1-0, but then try and turn up the heat late on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When we make the changes then the information is, right, we’ve got to try and start pressing and start pressing high and forcing the issue, and force them into mistakes.

"On the flip side of it you could be a little bit more open and they had one or two little moments where we had to do a bit of emergency defending, but you take that risk in that moment.

"I feel like we’ve turned the heat up with 10-15 minutes to go, Chieo gave us a real threat down that right, Cauley and Eli gave us some really good energy and some potency as well.

"On another day, Locks puts that header in and we’re talking about something different.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although beaten for the fourth top flight game in succession, Edwards once again took plenty of positives, especially as Town created the best chances of the contest, Brown nodding against the post from close range, Amari’i Bell volleying straight at Bernd Leno and Lockyer putting a more difficult header wide in stoppage time.

Luton should have had a spot-kick as well when Morris was fouled by Harrison Reed in an off the ball incident, but despite having the best opportunities, the Luton chief knows full well they have to start going in, adding: “There’s that one (Brown header) and the other two, Amari’i as well which he just said, ‘I should score,’ and Locks’ one right at the end.

"So it’s three brilliant chances along with the penalty decision in my opinion, so we’re disappointed we’ve not taken something from it.

"Yes they had the ball, but it's about creating chances and I think we did that very well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They're (the players) down, I'm down, we're disappointed because we're winners and we want to get points, but I’ve seen progression again from a couple of weeks ago.

"I saw a very well organised team that attacked quickly and had a real threat and also a team that were very organised and happy to defend key moments as well.

"It was hard for Fulham to play through, round or over us, they couldn’t really find the space.

"One key moment where they get a cross and they’re able to get a big opportunity where they score, that was really the one big effort.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They’ve had one from a corner in the first half, from a header, other than that, not too much.

"Some efforts from outside the box, off target, we limited them to very few and they’re a good footballing team, so I’ve seen progression.

“I’m proud of the players and I hope I’m sitting here in a week’s time, we’ve seen another performance, a better performance, at home, and we've taken some points from it.”