Centre half impressed with how Luton reacted to conceding twice
Town defender Donervon Daniels was quick to pay tribute to the Hatters’ togetherness which he felt led them to victory against Derby County on Tuesday night.
After a decent first half by the Hatters win which they went close to scoring through Harry Cornick twice, they then went 1-0 down just after the hour when Wayne Rooney opened his Rams account.
In recent games, Town’s heads have dropped quite dramatically when they are breached, but this time they hit back immediately through Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and then Daniels himself.
Ex-Luton forward Chris Martin made it 2-2 with five minutes left, before Cornick’s cross was turned in by Rams defender Jayden Bogle to seal a crucial three points.
On their ability to remain positive, Daniels said: “Normally it would have knocked us, but we’ve put our heads together and there’s a real togetherness, a real belief amongst the group which has been pushed by the gaffer, pushed by the coaching staff.
“We’ve set the standard in training and we just have to continue it in games.
“As you’ve seen, the first 45 minutes, first 60 minutes, even before they’ve scored, even after they scored, we had the ball, we passed the ball well.
"We had the quality to contribute to this league in any way we want to do and we just have to keep doing it.
“I know its been frustrating for the fans, they’ve seen this group of boys do so well over the last few years, but the step up takes time to acclimatise.
"Them being positive, especially at home, them believing regardless of the set back to just keep on pushing us on, you've seen we've reaped the rewards from that."
Team-mate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu also thought his side were impressive with the way the bounced back to each disappointment, saying: “It’s always tough when you've conceded first because obviously first half we played so well.
"But after we conceded, it was great to get a quick goal and then get another goal.
"After we conceded from a cross, back post, it was a good response from the boys and then the own goal set us on our way for three points."
Daniels himself had entered the fray by the time Rooney put Derby in front, due to a rare injury to Matty Pearson.
Back in his preferred centre half role, after his two previous games came at right back, he had an unwanted hand in the England record goalscorer's strike, deflecting it past Simon Sluga.
The 26-year-old was quick to make amends by netting his first goal for the club to make it 2-1 though, as he said: "Even before I came on the pitch, the boys were incredible.
"I felt like they showed exactly what the fans and the gaffer, all of us have been asking for each other,.
"They were strong, they ran hard, they passed the ball well, and I was happy to come on and contribute as much as I could.
"I was frustrated with the deflection, but I tried to block the ball, that’s my job.
"Going up the other end, contributing with a goal, that’s an extra, but I was happy to be on the pitch and happy to contribute as much as I could.
“It was good, centre back is my preferred position, it’s my position and I enjoyed it."
Although Pearson was missing his first minutes of the season, with Sonny Bradley struggling ahead of the game, Daniels made sure he was ready when called upon,
He added: "It’s difficult being on the bench, but I’ve just come in and I want to play.
"So every moment I’ve got to be ready for when the opportunity presents itself, and I warmed up for 60 minutes before I came on.
"I was ready, I knew my set-plays throughout the week, I analyse the opposition, in case I come on, so it’s something that when I’m on the bench I’m ready if called upon.
"I enjoyed being in the centre of the park and talking to the boys in front of me and trying to control it as much as I could.
"I enjoyed getting on the ball and passing the ball, and just enjoyed being out there tonight."