Mpanzu insists 10-man Hatters believed they would fight back
There was no way midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was ever giving up hope on getting a result against Blackpool on Saturday, despite trailing with five minutes to go.
The Hatters looked like their unbeaten run stretching back to October 13 might be coming to an end, particular as they were a man light, James Collins dismissed. But they kept on pushing, rewarded as Jason Cummings’ first goal for the club levelled it.
Asked whether he thought their first defeat was on the horizon, Mpanzu said: “No chance, we’re not on a 28 game unbeaten run for no reason.
“We’re always battling until 90 minutes, whatever happens, we can never give up and I knew that we would at least get a goal, or at least chances to equalise or even win the game.
“So a never say die attitude and the boys pulled through, Jason scored and it’s good for us.
“It shows we’ve got team spirit everywhere, we keep on going regardless of the score, how many men we’ve got.
“It’s a great team spirit and everyone’s contributing.
“Jason came off the bench and scored, so we’ve got people who can affect the game in different areas, the squad’s strong, we’ve got to keep going.”
Mpanzu did admit that it hurt massively when the visitors scored just 60 second after Collins had picked up his second yellow in the space of just two minutes.
He continued: “I can’t lie, it burns. That burnt because we can’t even ride the wave that they were pushing on us.
“They just scored straight away and it was like, ‘give us a break.’
“But I saw the clock, 60 minutes, I thought we’ve got a lot of time to get a goal even to win it and thankfully we did that.
“A point’s a point, we can’t really complain having been down to 10 men.”
Town were give a slight helping hand by the fact the Tangerines opted to go on the defensive in the closing stages, despite the man advantage, and protect what they had.
That didn’t surprise Mpanzu when asked though, as he said: “No, at home we’re on fire, passing the ball, scoring goals, unbeaten in I don’t know how long, a year or something, so surprised? No.
“But teams are going to try and do that, shut up shop, grab what they can and defend their lead.
“They tried to defend that and they didn’t, we’re grateful for that as we got a point at the end of the game.”
Mpanzu himself, who recently completed 200 games for the club, was a huge part of Town’s fightback, giving one of his finest performances of the season.
He added: “It’s not just down to me, I thank God as well, my team-mates, I can’t do anything without them.
“I’m having a good season, hopefully many more Luton appearances, but I’ve got to keep it going game by game, and hopefully we can achieve great things this season.”