Still calls on Town to cut out errors

John Still
John Still

Hatters boss John Still has called on his side to cut out the individual errors as they look to get their League Two campaign back on track against Mansfield this weekend.

After Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Notts County, courtesy of yet another stoppage time strike, Still promised to have a serious look at the defensive make-up of his side which has now conceded 13 goals already, the joint third worst in the division.

“What you can’t take away is human error, no matter how organised you are, no matter who knows their job.”

John Still

Having done so this week, Still admits there is little else they could do to prepare the side correctly, as he said: “It’s really important that you do analyse, win or lose, and while taking into account my teams take a while to get going, I think we’ve played all right, I really do.

“With the playing all right I would expect to have more points and we’ve been beaten too often late in games, it’s not right and we’ve conceded too many goals.

“We work on the training ground and learn there if we’re vulnerable or not and it’s not anything we’ve seen in training.

“We’ve analysed all of the goals with the players and looked at what we think maybe possible reasons and we’ve been out and worked.

“What you can’t take away is human error, no matter how organised you are, no matter who knows their job.

“If someone lets the ball go over their head, you can’t do that out there (in training) because out there it’s spot on but they do it in games.

“We’ve had a good week, we’ve worked well, we’re conceding too many goals, so that tells me we’ve got to work hard to rectify this little problem.

“I think our form is okay, we’re into the vein of playing how I want, but we have to make sure we don’t concede avoidable goals. It happens, but I think we’ve been guilty of it for a few games now.”

Still believes it wasn’t just his defence who have been culpable for the continued mistakes, although admitted how to eradicate them from a match day remains something of a mystery.

He continued: “If I look at whoever played defensively for us, Scott (Griffiths) and Scott (Cuthbert), Macca (Steve McNulty), Wilko (Luke Wilkinson), Steve (O’Donnell) and if I ask lots of people who’ve been good for us this year, a lot of those names would come up, but we’ve conceded goals.

“It’s not how they’ve played. Scott Griffiths started poor, the last four or five games he’s been outstanding, but he might have been responsible for a goal or two.

“Wilko’s been terrific, but he might have been responsible for a goal or two, Scott Cuthbert has been outstanding, but might be responsible for a goal or two.

“When we looked back at the goals, it’s not just them, midfield players might play a part, as you’ve got to defend for 90 minutes or 92 minutes or 95 minutes.

“How do you get the mistakes out? Do you know how you do that? Nor do I. No manager does. I can’t be responsible for someone who, we do this all week, then gradually they do something different.

“You can change them, but what if they make a mistake, you have to sometimes work and work and work until it almost becomes a second skin, which is what we’re trying to do.

“There isn’t a reason I can see why the combinations wouldn’t work and we could play on Saturday with any back four we have here and not concede as I’m confident in what we’ve got.

“What we have to do as a team we all have to take a bit of responsibility. Players have to take a bit of responsibility for making errors, we might have to take a bit of responsibility for not working on this and that, because we’re all accountable.

“And at the end of the day the most accountable person is the manager of course it is and I would never and have never shied away to the responsibility.”

With Luton shipping four goals in the last minute so far this term, Still wasn’t keen on making any excuses for his side’s inability to see games out in the closing moments either.

When asked if could put his finger on why it’s been such a recurring theme, the boss added: “Is it a psychological thing? I don’t think so. Is it a concentration thing? Maybe.

“But I just don’t think we’ve defended it well enough. I have too much respect for these players to make excuses as they’re good players, reasonably experienced players and one or two of them have not quite got it right defensively at the moment.

“We go through it with them, we train, work with them in the week, they now have to go and play. If they are good players, they’ll overcome that.”