Luton boss ready for the tough decisions he has to make after leaving Berry out at Millwall

Town chief on why he brought back Mpanzu at the Den

Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:48 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:50 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones admitted he is more than ready to make the tough decisions needed selection-wise after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Millwall.

Following a fortnight off due to the international break, Jones was left with some real headaches over his starting 11 as for quite possibly the first time this term, he had a full strength squad to choose from.

In the end, he only made one change from the goalless draw with Huddersfield Town, dropping Luke Berry to the bench, despite the 29-year-old scoring four goals in just six appearances, for long-serving midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu after he had missed the last three matches.

Jordan Clark kept his place, going on to produce two assists for Harry Cornick's match-winning double as Jones knows further difficult calls await, saying: “We’ve had tough decisions to make as I've left Luke Berry out who’s scored four in the last four games and two assists, because I believe we needed certain things.

“Jordan Clark can give us that, Luke Berry gives us that too, but anyone who gives an assist is justified in the team selection.

“It’s a headache, we made a late change in terms of playing Pelly instead of Luke as we believed it was going to be tight and we were going to bring Luke on to get us a goal, as it was we didn’t need that, so we’ve got another fresh one for Tuesday.

“Before he picked up a little slight injury he (Mpanzu) was in great form anyway and he’s a player I trust, a player I love, a player that’s bubbly.

“I felt we needed to match their midfield with pace and power.

"Glen (Rea) gives us that security, Clarky gives us real guile and movement, and then Pelly gives us that pace and power, so I felt we had a good blend.

“It’s really harsh on Luke Berry, but I'm here to make those tough decisions and I felt comfortable in doing it, and it was the right one.

“Luke’s been outstanding and he will come into contention for the two games we have this week.”

It wasn’t just Berry who was omitted on the day, with a host of other players not included in the match-day 18, as Jones continued: “It’s tough, but we’ve left Allan Campbell, we’ve left Carlos Mendes Gomes, we’ve left Gabe Osho, Danny Hylton, Dan Potts, out of the squad, literally out of the squad.

“They're all fit, so we’ve got a real strong squad and those are the decisions, that’s basically now what I get paid for doing as it’s the toughest part of the job.

“They’ve really put a shift in today, but it’s one of three as we’ve got three games this week, a big week, so to start off with a win is a real good start.”

Jones did state that those who didn’t get into the side at the Den have every chance of being included when Town head to Derby County tomorrow night and then take on Hull City at home on Saturday.

He added: “We said to the players on Friday that it won’t be the same 11 that goes bang, bang, bang this week.

"We need freshness, we play at a certain level, we demand a high press, the work-rate, the real big energy and the same 11 players can’t do that, physically cannot do that with travelling and everything.

"So we rely now on the squad and we’ve got a really strong squad.

"It’s the best squad I’ve ever had at Luton by an absolute mile and we’ve got everyone back, five who are not even in the squad today, who will all come into contention for Tuesday.

"As it’s not, we keep a clean sheet, we keep the same team, it’s how can we keep the levels that we are at the minute attaining over every game, and that takes a squad.”