Premier League debut a proud moment for Luton defender Mengi but ex-Manchester United youngster left gutted by Burnley winner

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Centre half didn’t think the Clarets deserved to take all three points

Town defender Teden Mengi was left with mixed emotions after his full Premier League debut ended in heartache with a 2-1 defeat to Burnley at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night.

Having signed from Manchester United just before the transfer window shut recently, the centre half earned a first start for Luton in the Carabao Cup 1-0 loss at Exeter City, before coming on early in the second half during the 2-1 victory over Everton at the weekend.

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With Reece Burke’s groin causing him some problems, Mengi, who had played in the second tier for both Derby County and Birmingham City, was in from the start against the Clarets.

Teden Mengi looks to make a challenge against Burnley on Tuesday night - pic: Liam SmithTeden Mengi looks to make a challenge against Burnley on Tuesday night - pic: Liam Smith
Teden Mengi looks to make a challenge against Burnley on Tuesday night - pic: Liam Smith

He saw Lyle Foster break away to give the visitors the lead in first half stoppage time, before a second period dominated by Luton looked like they had got a point with six minutes left, Elijah Adebayo turning in the box to fire home.

However, within 65 seconds Town were behind once more, Jacob Bruun Larsen curling home a stunning winner as the Hatters were left with nothing.

Discussing the game, Mengi said: “It’s a great milestone for me in my career, a big night for me, but it was a very disappointing game for us.

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"In the first half we’ve got to be honest with ourselves, we know we weren’t up to speed.

“We know we weren’t playing to our identity, but in the second half we really got it going.

“We didn’t let them have any control whatsoever, we were really knocking on the door.

“I think we deserved to at least get a point out of that game.”

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The 21-year-old had only made 18 senior starts in his career before Tuesday night, as although he spent over a decade at Old Trafford, was only used twice in the first team, with late cameos in the Champions League and Europa League.

Despite that, he believed just being at Old Trafford for such a lengthy period of his career helped prepare him for a maiden top flight start.

He continued: “It was massive, being in and around it, knowing what the speed's like and what the level’s like, the education from United helped me a lot.

"I feel like now is the time for me to just go and do the business."

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With Town struggling to really get a foothold in the opening 45 minutes, Vincent Kompany’s visitors looked incredibly threatening, eventually taking the lead when going straight through the middle, Sander Berge releasing Foster to slide his shot past Thomas Kaminski.

On why he thought Luton struggled to really assert themselves before the interval, Mengi said: “I just think the desire to do the job, to do the dirty work, but like we showed, we put it right.

"Everyone was running, everyone was doing the dirty work, I was cramping up every time I touched the ball towards the last 15 minutes.

“The first half we were just slightly off but we rectified that in the second half.”

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Having got back on level terms though through Adebayo, it made the manner of Burnley’s winner even more galling for Mengi, as he added: “It's tough, it’s like someone has stabbed us in the back when we just worked so hard to get to the stage that we got to.

"That’s football, that’s football, we need to work to get to the point where we don’t allow that to happen again and stay focused for the full 90 minutes, or 97 minutes as it was.

"We didn’t even touch the ball for their second goal.

“Sometimes you think we’re in the Premier League now, the level’s a lot higher, but even in the Championship you get goals like that.

"There’s not so much you can do about that, he stuck right into the top corner so fair play to the lad, but we’re disappointed with it.

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"We didn’t let them have any control of the second half whatsoever, we deserved at least a point out of that, but it’s done now.”

Mengi knows Luton can’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves though, as they face an absolutely huge game against high-flying Spurs this weekend.

He added: “There’s no time to dwell on it, we go away and recover, we analyse what we did well and what we can do better and we take it into the next game.

“We’ve really got to go into that game positive, fresh, this result’s done and we’re ready to go again.

"We just focus on recovery, analysing what went well and we take that into Saturday with a real positive outlook.”