Hatters new boy Jake Gray wasn’t too surprised to see his side produce a night to remember at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday evening as Luton convincingly knocked Championship heavyweights Aston Villa out of the EFL Cup.
Although Town fell behind early on to Jordan Ayew’s strike, Gray himself notched the leveller, before a superb second half display saw Cameron McGeehan and Jores Okore’s own goal send Hatters through to face Leeds United.
“We thought if we could get ahead or put them under pressure they might crumble.”Jake Gray
Gray admitted he had his team-mates had felt a result was always possible, saying: “In training, when I first joined, you can see the intensity and the attitude of the boys and the energy the manager gives us on the training pitch, so it doesn’t really surprise me to be honest as everyone works hard every day in training.
“We’ve got to put that on the pitch now and I think we did that, so it doesn’t really surprise me too much.
“Obviously they’re a Championship side so they’re expected to be stronger, but we matched that.
“We didn’t start great, they came out of the blocks quite fast, moving the ball well, and they’re a Championship side, they’re going to be able to move the ball around well.
“It was just a question of us finding our feet and working out what we have to do.
“Like me, I’ve only just joined, I had to learn how to get my position right, but after the equaliser, they couldn’t live with our intensity on the ball and off the ball.
“So to be honest, it could have been more than three, but they had a couple of chances off the bar, so it was an entertaining game and could have been four or five at the end.”
Town’s eighth signing of the summer also admitted his side’s belief had been boosted given Villa’s terrible run of form, as the visitors were without a victory since February.
He said: “That was something we said before the game, after last season they didn’t do too well, so we thought if we could get ahead or put them under pressure they might crumble.
“Maybe they did that and we took full advantage of that, so we’re really happy with how it worked out.
“Everyone sensed at half time we had a real chance of winning, and we just came out of the blocks quickly and it could have been loads more.
“We just couldn’t get over the line as we should have, but we still got three goals in the end and that’s brilliant for us.”
Gray himself produced a fine finish, beating Mark Bunn from close range, after a glorious team move to draw Luton level against the former Premier League side.
He is now hoping to be celebrating more frequently too, saying: “I’d like to think so, I like to arrive in the box and score goals, hopefully that’s the first of many in a Luton shirt.
“It was a good move, Pelly with his pace and power to beat his man, I just saw a little gap, made a run and he’s played the ball perfectly, the weight on it was brilliant and thankfully it went in.”
Boss Nathan Jones added: “It was one of the first times we actually put our foot on the ball, really caused them problems with our shape and how we played and a great finish.
“We’ve bought Jake Gray bere because we know he can do that, he’s a forward runner, gets in the box and scores goals and he did exactly that.”