Mpanzu wants Hatters to 'eradicate' their mistakes when heading to Barnsley

Midfielder confident of improvement at Oakwell

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 2:24 pm
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu on the ball against West Bromwich Albion
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu on the ball against West Bromwich Albion

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu wants his side to eradicate the mistakes they made in their 3-2 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday when they head to Barnsley this evening.

The Hatters fell behind inside just five minutes at the Hawthorns when skipper Kal Naismith headed Darnell Furlong’s long throw into his own net.

A second arrived after the half hour mark, again from a set-piece, Callum Robinson left unmarked to nod home, while Town then buckled far too easily after the break as Karlan Grant made it 3-0 from close range.

Speaking afterwards, Mpanzu said: “It’s a killer (the first goal), it’s poor from all parts as a collective.

“Kal tried to get his head on the ball and unfortunately it’s an own goal, but it’s a poor goal to concede early on when we’re trying to stay in the game.

“We know West Brom are a top, top side that have just dropped from the Premiership and are trying to go straight back up, so it’s tough.

“We’ve got to go back, see what can we do better as a team and hopefully we can eradicate those mistakes.

“They’re putting balls in throughout the whole game, and the first half we didn’t defend it at all.

“Second half was a lot better, we didn't concede from a set-piece or any throw-in, so we know we can defend it.

“It’s just about concentrating in the first half and making sure we eradicate all the mistakes.

“We know that West Brom are a top side, they did create some chances, but not clear-cut chances, it’s from set-pieces.

"We have to refocus ourselves and make sure that doesn’t happen again, because today that’s cost us at least a point, maybe three.

"So we have to make sure we don’t make the mistakes again.”

Although Town were well drilled in what to expect from the Baggies under their new manager Valerien Ismael, they couldn’t execute those plans, with manager Nathan Jones stating his side ‘wilted’ at times under the pressure.

Mpanzu continued: “You can practice as much as you want in training, but when it comes to a game situation you’ve got to switch on and we just didn’t defend that as a team properly.

“It’s tough to take, but in football there’s always the next game.

"So Tuesday (against Barnsley) we’re going to correct it and hopefully nothing happens set-piece and hopefully we score one.

"We’ve got to forget about this game and hopefully we come away with three points that we need and hopefully deserve."

Although Luton did concede again in the second period, once they took advantage of a defensive error themselves, Harry Cornick find the net to make it 3-1 on 70 minutes, the Hatters were by far the better side.

Mpanzu himself pulled another back at the half-way point of 16 minutes stoppage time caused by Jordan Clark's head injury, but despite finishing strongly, they couldn’t grab an equaliser.

On what had been mentioned during the interval, Mpanzu said: “Whatever he said in the dressing room can stay in the dressing room, but in terms of him saying, 'listen, we know that we’ve come up against a good side, the way the set-pieces we conceded aren't great at all, we can’t play any worse, so go out and express yourselves.'

"I think we started off well, then we conceded a goal, all the goals we can defend better.

"We tried to grab the game back, Cornick scored from great pressure from Al (Allan Campbell), and we put pressure on them.

"I scored, (Admiral) Muskwe had a chance, there were chances there after.

"From 3-0 down it’s tough to come back, but we put balls in and any second balls, little nicks, we could have got a third, but it wasn’t to be.”

Luton now head to Oakwell this evening to face a Barnsley side who have begun the campaign by taking four points from their opening two games.

Mpanzu added: "We went there at the beginning of last season and won 1-0, Collo (James Collins) scored a great goal, so we know how they play.

"They’ve lost the manager that came here, but we know Barnsley, good players, can score goals, but we know if we're on our game, there's not a lot of teams that can handle us.

"We’ve got pace, we’ve got power, we've got technical players, we’ve got people that can cross the ball, we’ve got great defenders.

"Today we didn't really show it, but hopefully we can correct that."