Hatters boss relieved to put Blackpool memories behind him

Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones was delighted to put the memories of Town's gut-wrenching defeat to Blackpool in the play-off semi-final firmly behind him with a record breaking 8-2 opening day win over Yeovil Town yesterday.

Hatters' last competitive outing at Kenilworth Road in League Two had seen the side concede a heartbreaking equaliser to virtually the last kick which saw them beaten on aggregate by the Tangerines, leaving Jones shell-shocked at the final whistle.

However, almost three months on and those tears turned to cheers, as Hatters romped to victory against the Glovers, with the home players afforded a superb ovation by the 8,000 strong home crowd.

Jones said: “To score that amount, to win at home, to give our fans something to cheer about after the disappointment of May the 18th and that date will be etched for a little while, that goes a long way to repaying a little bit of the faith that people show in me.

“We're a good group and they want to work hard and they want to do things right.

“I wouldn't say it was a wounded animal but what we said at half time was, 'remember the last feeling we had here in the changing room, remember the Blackpool feeling'.

“We want a ruthless edge to us, we really do need that and we feel that we have that.

“It's a great day for us, we won't get carried away because we've got more tests to come, and it's only early.

“At this stage last year we were top of the league as well, so we'll enjoy today but tomorrow morning when we wake up we'll focus on the week ahead.

“We couldn't have imagined it beyond our wildest dreams and we don't take that for granted and be coy about it or be too carried away in any kind of way.

“There's always some kind of results on the first day that are a little bit freakish or whatever, now I don't think that was freakish, think that was just clinical.

“It's a new season, we have new challenges, we have a new squad and hopefully we can continue.”

Despite the utterly convincing nature of the victory, it could have been a different story with Luton falling behind in the seventh minute to Otis Khan's superb free kick, while Marek Stech also saved a first half penalty too.

Jones knows they have to be tighter defensively when up against stronger sides, as he continued: “That's what we have to eradicate, as they won't all be eight, we won't score eight goals every week, so we have to keep clean sheets.

“We work on that and we demand on them in a certain way, so I was a bit disappointed on that.

“I was a bit disappointed with the build up to it as it was a real soft free kick, a real, real soft free kick, but those things happen.

“It was good quality from the boy Khan to score, but apart from that, we can't really dwell too much on the negatives, as I thought in possession we had a real cutting edge about us and our front two, backed up by (Andrew) Shinnie, I thought were excellent.

“We want to try and eradicate that the little rash things, because some games that could cost you as it cost us last season in terms of too many draws, but the three or four negatives were surpassed by the mountain of positives from today.”

Although keen to not get carried away by one result that saw Town leap to the summit, Jones was going to allow himself to savour the moment, as he added: “You've got to enjoy these times as it doesn't happen too often.

“It's a tricky fixture, against Yeovil, my old club, as I know what they do, they study us, we have a good rivalry.

“I have some friends there, so it's extra rivalry. I know it will be a difficult game, they press, have good individuals, but we just have that quality and if we showed that quality we'll win games of football more than we lose.

“We have to build on that though, have to learn from certain things that we could have done better, have to eradicate things, but we have to continue with the things that we did very well and we did do some things very, very well.

“Sometimes I can get carried away in terms of wanting standards to be so high, but no-one could have envisaged an 8-2 victory, so we'll enjoy that.

“It was good for the fans as well, they came out, and the atmosphere was magnificent, right from the go.

“At the end I was very proud, one of the proudest moments I've had as a manager and long may that continue.

“It's been a long summer after the last competitive game here, but hopefully that's kind of put to bed a few things.”