Hatters chief won't be an 'emotional wreck' during fight to stay up

Hatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Town boss will keep his cool for the run-in

Hatters manager Graeme Jones has insisted he won’t become an ‘emotional wreck’ during Town’s battle to avoid relegation from the Championship this season.

The Luton chief saw his side pick up a second win in four games on Wednesday night, deservedly defeating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Kenilworth Road.

Victory means they are now seven points from safety, eight when you consider the goal difference, with just 14 games to go.

However, Jones has been in similar situations before, as while number two at Wigan Athletic, the Latics found themselves bottom of the Premier League in the 2011-12 seasons with nine matches left.

They then set off on an incredible run of form though, with seven victories, including winning at Anfield and the Emirates, plus defeat Manchester United on home soil too, as they eventually finished a comfortable seven points clear of the drop zone, in 15th place.

Speaking after James Collins’ 10th goal of the season was enough to defeat the Owls in miweek, Jones said: “In the Premier League one season, we won seven out of the last nine and we went from getting relegated, getting slaughtered off everybody, as we were small Wigan, to staying in the league comfortably, being offered the Liverpool job.

“Tonight's about celebrating the players and their honesty and I couldn't be prouder of the performance.

“My job is to keep my standards high, my job is to keep level headed, amongst all adversity, almost all the variables out there and I've done that.

“That gives me great pleasure because in me doing that, the players have responded the right way.

“If i was an emotional wreck and I wasn't thinking straight, believe me, we wouldn't win football matches, and it’s everybody, but the players need to take the credit for tonight.”

Jones was quick to pass all the credit on to his squad after they gave themselves a lifeline on Wednesday night, seeing off a Sheffield Wednesday side, who themselves are struggling under Garry Monk.

He continued: "Tonight was a night, where it came down to the lads.

"Yes we gave them tactical information, Garry changes his shape and we helped the players, but it had to come from within.

"There's a human element that they need to really, really make it happen.

"They need to make good decisions, they need to fight, they need to run, they’ve been doing that for weeks with no reward, that’s demoralising.

"Tonight we got a reward, so lets see where that takes us."

Jones also kept faith with midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, despite the summer signing's performance in the 1-0 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday attracting criticism from certain quarters.

The ex-Mancester United youngster repaid with a terrific display, as Jones said: "For me he’s done that from minute one.

"He was a free transfer, I spoke on Saturday about value for money, he gives you great value for money for a free transfer.

"So I'm delighted for him and just delighted for the boys."

After producing an excellent first half display against the Owls, which should have warranted more than the single goal Town scored, Jones felt it was a continuation of their efforts over the recent few games.

He added: "Nottingham Forest (2-1 defeat) was a really strong performance, Derby (3-2 win) was a really strong performance.

"First half on Saturday (1-0 loss to Cardiff) was a really, really strong performance and we should have been three up on Saturday.

"What you have to do is learn from it, we’ve learned from it and we’ve done something about it.

"We’ve reacted with actions rather than words, reacted with togetherness.

"The pleasure I get from the performance is incredible.

"We all know we’re in a results-based business, nobody more so than me, but you have to get performances to get results and that’s what I assess, so I was delighted with the first half."