Luton chief insists players need 'massive respect' for not crumbling after critical errors at Derby

Simon Sluga chases a lost cause as Derby take the lead at Pride Park after his error
Simon Sluga chases a lost cause as Derby take the lead at Pride Park after his error

Town boss Graeme Jones declared his players deserved ‘massive respect’ for the manner in which they dealt with the disappointment of conceding via two goalkeeping errors in their 2-0 defeat at Derby County on Saturday.

With the scores goalless, the Hatters fell behind on 11 minutes as Matty Pearson’s backpass was mis-controlled by keeper Simon Sluga, rolling into the empty net.

Then, with the visitors on the front foot and pressing for an equaliser, Sluga was beaten again with 20 minutes to play, Tom Lawrence’s cross going in at the near post to make it 2-0.

However, Luton never once gave up, as they kept going, much to the satisfaction of Jones, as he said: “I was delighted with my players' reaction, absolutely delighted.

“I’ve been around teams that, that’s them done, they’ll blame the goalkeeper at that point for what’s happened.

“Our boys, we need to have massive respect for our lads.

“They rolled their sleeves up, they were upset, but they didn’t let it affect them, they stuck to the plan, and they did their job.

“The 13 outfield players did everything I asked of them, just a couple of individual errors with no margin of error lets you down and that’s why the score was 2-0.”

Midfielder Andrew Shinnie revealed there was some disappointment in the dressing room at half time, but they managed to put that behind them and come out on top after the break.

He said: “That’s the thing, obviously there was a mistake and then you can crumble from then or feel under pressure, but we stuck together, worked our way into the game again.

“It’s just a strange feeling as the boys were getting a bit annoyed at half time, but I just said, ‘I didn’t feel they created any chances really.’

“Maybe there was a couple of half chances they could have done better, they had possession but they weren’t really hurting us.

“We just had to be a bit braver on the ball and not give it away cheaply and we’ll grow into the game.

“Second half we performed really well, we were desperate to get back into the game, get an equaliser and then go on and win the game, but they hit us with a sucker punch second and it’s tough.”

The timing of the second goal was another frustrating aspect for Jones, as it came with his side looking like the were about to mount an assault and leave Pride Park with at least a point to their name.

The boss added: “I think the first 25 minutes of the second half we really took it to them.

“I could see Harry (Cornick) with a chance in the box and we took control of the game, we’re at Derby County, that’s how far we’ve come psychologically.

“I’ve got no complaints with the 13 players, absolutely none, you can’t legislate for errors, especially critical errors and that’s what happened, that’s why we got beat 2-0.

“We don’t even have to speak about tactics, everybody at the game knows what happened.

“That’s life as a goalkeeper and we have to get back, work when we can with him and support him and work through it.”