Tunnicliffe admits he felt 'embarrassed' by first half performance against Owls

Midfielder praises manager Jones for his interval intervention

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:40 am
Ryan Tunicliffe gets a hug from Kal Naismith after making it 2-2 on Saturday

Hatters midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe admitted he was left feeling ‘embarrassed’ in the dressing room at half time of Saturday’s amazing comeback win over Sheffield Wednesday.

The 28-year-old had started his second game in succession following a return to the side against former club Millwall in midweek.

However, he and the rest of his Town team-mates were powerless to prevent the Owls from opening up a 2-0 lead by the interval, an advantage which should have been greater such was the visitors dominance.

When asked what he was thinking at the break and if he could put his finger on why Town were so bad, Tunnicliffe said: “I can’t speak for everyone but at half time I was a bit embarrassed at the manner we conceded the goals and how we performed.

“We were nowhere near it, from all 11, so I would say I was a bit embarrassed with what we put out.

“I would love to tell you why, but I don’t know.

“We came out with the same mindset that we did Tuesday, but it just didn’t click.

“To concede such a sloppy goal inside five minutes, the last thing we said before we came out, was first 10 minutes, keep it nice and simple and build into the game.

“They'd played Wednesday so don’t give them a sniff of anything and to concede after five minutes so sloppily, I think that was just backs against the wall and we just never really got going and that showed, the first half was nowhere near it at all.

“They were getting through quite a lot with one ball, we were keeping the ball but sloppy on it and then one pass and they were in.

“It was a bit like what we did to them in the second half, we were playing over the top of them and getting on seconds, that’s what they did first half to us and they were miles better than us.

“Had we got into half time 1-0 down it probably would have flattered us a bit, but it would have given us something to build on, but they got the second, the character to come back and win 3-2 speaks volumes for the lads.”

Jones himself revealed afterwards that he didn’t go in all guns blazing on his players during the break, but preferred to talk it through at length with his coaching staff in the manager's office and then make the three changes, bringing Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Glen Rea and Harry Cornick on, before sending his side out again.

Tunnicliffe wasn’t one of those withdrawn, staying on make amends for the side's awful first half showing and he had been impressed by the manner in which Jones approached the interval, continuing: “That was good from the gaffer.

“Usually he’s in and tinkering and telling us what went wrong and well, but he left us to our own thoughts and to be fair, a few of the boys spoke up and said a few home truths.

“He came and made the changes, geed us up and sent us out which I think was perfect for the situation.

“All credit to the gaffer, I think he could have taken 1-11 off, you don't change the keeper, but it could have been anyone of us.

"Those boys coming on, they didn't start Tuesday as well so they would have had a bit of a point to prove.

"They came on and give us the lift we needed, fresh legs, they got us going.

"The boys that stayed on the pitch knew that wasn't good enough first half so we knew we needed to step it up and it gelled well in the end.”

Kal Naismith got the comeback rolling with his first goal for the Hatters, turning in a low corner from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to make it 2-1.

Tunicliffe himself then added the second with a neat finish before Elijah Adebayo rose highest at the far post to head home Cornick's cross and win it for the Hatters.

The ex-Manchester United player added: "At 2-0 it’s a mountain to climb a bit, but we said, if we get the first goal early on then anything can happen.

"They’re down the bottom of the league so are low on confidence, we thought if we could nick something then the game was on for us.

"That proved it, as we nicked the goal and we looked like a different team second half, constant pressure and in the end, I would probably say on the first half and second half performance got what we probably deserved.

“If we hadn't scored early they could have had a chance to drain the game, take the momentum out of it, take their time with goal kicks, throw-ins, then it could have killed our momentum, but luckily it didn’t.

"I scored quite soon after, got us level and then our tails are up, it was all to play for and then thankfully the big man has nodded one in at the back post and we’ve got a winner.

"I can’t remember too many that I’ve been involved with being 2-0 down and playing so poorly at half time, to then come back to win, so it would be right up there."