Hatters chief labels criticism of Sluga as 'unfair'

Simon Sluga tips the ball away from the danger area on Tuesday night
Simon Sluga tips the ball away from the danger area on Tuesday night

Luton chief Graeme Jones has called the criticism received by goalkeeper Simon Sluga as ‘unfair’ after Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

The club’s record signing had produced an excellent first half display to keep out the Owls, before being the catalyst for the only goal of the game early in the second period, his throw out seized upon by Jacob Murphy, with Kadeem Harris eventually scoring.

It saw some supporters take to social media to criticise the 26-year-old, with a number stating he should be dropped, some even believing it should have happened after the error during Town's opening night 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough.

However, Jones said: “His performance at Hillsborough for 90 minutes was excellent.

“We’re talking about half a yard, so even the decision is not wrong, we’re talking about the execution of the decision.

“I can think of an instance a week before against West Brom, where he over-rolls a ball to Pelly Ruddock, with a throw, we get caught a little bit.

“Maybe he under-threw that because that was in his mind?

“He’s getting punished for the smallest details and I think it’s very, very unfair.

“I said before, let’s go to Croatia now and try to do your job, and speak a different language and understand Luton’s style of play.

“The Championship is brutally different to anything he would have faced before.

“I think he’s doing fine, it’s just a small error. He’s improved in every single game that he’s played in, were talking about half a yard here, it’s very, very unfair.

“Let’s say that the shot from Harris goes in first half, he makes an unbelievable save to his left, let’s say that goes in and we get beat 1-0, nobody says a word.

“It’s just we’re talking about half a yard and I think it’s very harsh on him.

“It’s life as a goalkeeper, but he’s getting better every game and you have to measure improvement.

“He’s like the team, we are getting better every single game and we’re really, really close, we’ve just got to keep going.”

Sluga’s form is also no concern to Croatian national boss Zlatko Dalić, as the keeper was named in his squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan next month.

Jones added: “It’s a Croatia national team that got a World Cup final, it’s big business.

“It can only enhance him, he has to go and train with (Luka) Modric and (Ivan) Rakitic and a few other players, so mentally you have to grow, technically you have to grow.

“The more internationals we get the better, the more we measure at this football club, the further we’ll be down the line, so it’s good news.”