Mpanzu: It was easy to leave euphoria of Cherries win behind ahead of Reading triumph

Luton midfielder happy to pick up back-to-back victories

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 7:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 7:54 pm
Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu
Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu felt it was an easy task to leave the euphoria of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth behind when heading to the Select Car Leasing Stadium to triumph 2-0 at Reading last night.

The Hatters went into the game riding the crest of a wave following the magnificent victory at the weekend secured thanks to Kal Naismith’s winner with the last kick of the game.

It could have been a case of after the Lord Mayor's show when visiting a Royals side struggling at the wrong end of the table, and Luton without a league win in Berkshire since 1999.

However, it some became clear there was no need to worry, with a Tom Holmes own goal and Allan Campbell’s second in successive matches ensuring a 2-0 win for the Hatters against their desperately poor opponents.

When asked if coming back down to earth had been simple after such scenes of unbridled joy at Kenilworth Road, Mpanzu said: “Personally, it was easy for me.

"Listen you have the heights of Saturday but you can’t come and slug a game out, play poorly and you think 'what was the point of winning on Saturday if you come here and drop points?'

"Obviously you like to draw your away games and win your home games, but here, Reading aren't in the greatest of form, so we came here thinking, 'yes, we're going to grab these three points,' and here we are going home with a dub and look forward to Saturday.

“That’s (the hosts struggles) got nothing to do with us.

"Reading’s an established Championship club but we have come here to get three points and that’s what we’ve done.

"First half I thought we could have been a bit better, moving the ball, quick tempo, we were a bit slow, but obviously we got the goal and didn’t look back from that.

"Second half I played the through ball to Elijah, Al’s got his second goal, two in two games, so all in all it’s a great game and clean sheet.

“Al, he had a shot and he came off injured (against Bournemouth), hammy was hurting, so we told him, 'Al go closer.'

"There he was in the box arriving, listen, Al’s been great this season, he's getting goals, getting in the box, so hopefully he can continue that."

Mpanzu has been at Kenilworth Road longer than most though, joining on loan in December 13 and making the move permanent just a month afterwards.

He has now racked up 320 appearances, scoring 20 goals, and when asked how the moment rated in his lengthy Town career, he continued: “It was up there, because it was last minute.

"It was top quality from Kal, winning 3-2 against Bournemouth who are one of the top two teams, three teams, if you want to add in Blackburn or QPR alongside Fulham, they’re expected to go up, so it was a great win.”

As manager Nathan Jones had stated, picking up back-to-back wins was the order of the day, a feat they hadn't managed in the league this term.

Mpanzu knew of the importance, especially as Town were one of only two matches being played, as they look to catch up the rest of the division following a Christmas off due to Covid outbreaks.

He added: "We mentioned that, we haven’t gone back-to-back this season so it was good to get that out of the way.

“We knew we had to come here, try to get back-to-back wins, as the gaffer said.

"It was a euphoric win against Bournemouth on Saturday so to come here and to drop points would have been, not unfortunate, but not what we wanted.

"So we came here, got the three points and are now back on the road, as we’ve got Sheffield on the weekend."