Luton's flexibility impresses boss Jones but he wants more cutting edge

Town chief happy to switch systems when needed

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 4th July 2020, 12:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th July 2020, 12:16 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Town boss Nathan Jones believes it’s important for his side to showcase their flexibility since the Championship returned last month, while also calling for more cutting edge against Reading this afternoon.

Luton started with their more traditional diamond formation against Preston in their opening 1-1 draw, a system that Jones more often than not stuck to religiously during his first spell in charge.

However, he switched to a 4-2-3-1 for the 1-0 win at Swansea last week and then adopted a five man defence when travelling to leaders Leeds United in midweek, as Town dug in for a crucial 1-1 draw.

On the ability alter things game by game, Jones said: “It’s important because at League Two, League One level, we didn’t really change too much.

“We made changes in-game but we always believed that we were capable of playing one shape and dominating a game.

“It’s a different level now so you have to be very tactically astute.

“We felt we have been, and apart from the first 20 minutes against Preston, I think we’ve been good.

“Our shape’s been good, how we’ve pressed, our organisation, our possession, we’ve been decent.

“When you go to Leeds you’ve got to be right at it and I thought we were.

“Tactically we’ve been sound and again it’s about finding something that is really suitable for this squad and then go on with that, because we’ve not got a pre-season to work with them.

"We've six games to work trial and error, the trial and error has been in league games against top opposition.”

After two fine performances on the road against sides going for promotion, plus the 1-1 draw with Preston, Jones now wants his side to offer a bit more going forward after managing just five shots in target during the three games.

He continued: "Defensively I think we’ve been very good and at the minute we’ve only had to score one goal to get a result, whether that is a point or a win, which is always good to do because it means you’re very consistent.

"We’ve shown consistency, we’ve got to show that consistency but then find a little bit more cutting edge.

"Cutting edge will come with games and with sharpness but we’re hoping that arrives pretty soon.

"We’ve been to some tough places, played against some teams that are possession dominant as well, so we’ve had to make sure we have been very organised and defend well and I think they have been absolutely outstanding.

"We have to continue that, we have six absolutely massive games, they were big games the others, but these are massive now.

"We’ve given ourselves a platform but what we can’t do is suddenly think the hard work is done or we’ve done this or done that, we have to continue because these are big, big games."

Luton have become far harder to break down in recent weeks, conceding just twice since the games started again and a mere eight in their last 10 games, keeping four clean sheets too, a fact which belies their overall goal difference of minus 27.

Jones added: “You need a platform because you won’t win Championship games if you concede, no side at this level can concede goals and win games.

"If you look at all the big teams and I spoke to someone yesterday about Brentford, who are one of the most wonderful footballing sides in the division, but their defensive record is superb.

"It gives you opportunities if you can be defensively sound and you don’t need two or three to win a game.

"I’ve built a reputation being a very attacking manager or coach, attack-minded but if you want to win games at Championship level, you have to be defensively sound.

"Ironically, from my previous time here at League Two and League One level, we’ve always been in the top three defensive if not the best.

"Some years we had the best defensive record so as much as we built a reputation for being an attacking side, we always made sure that we were defensively sound.

"That’s what you have to do, because if you concede goals, you’re not going to pick up the points you need.”