Jones can't defend Sluga after costly mistakes during Derby loss

Town boss Graeme Jones
Town boss Graeme Jones

Luton boss Graeme Jones offered no defence for Simon Sluga after the keeper’s two mistakes handed Derby County a 2-0 win this afternoon.

The Croatian international first allowed Matty Pearson’s backpass to roll under his foot and into the net on 11 minutes, to give the hosts the advantage.

With Luton wresting the initiative back during the second period, Sluga was then beaten once more from Tom Lawrence’s cross which sailed over him and into the net.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “I think the game was a 1-1 game or a 0-0 game, there was very little difference in shots on target, shots off target.

“I expected James (Collins) to tap in first half, but you can’t legislate for those kind of errors.

“It would be easy for me to blame the goalkeeper in the last however many games, I’m not that type of person, I’m not that type of coach.

“Today, I can’t defend him, it’s two goalkeeping errors, that’s the truth, we got beat 2-0 because of two goalkeeping errors, that are basics of the game.

“We’re talking about controlling the ball and defending your near post, not getting shocked, and that’s what’s happened, life as a goalkeeper.

“I’ve never seen two goals like that in my life, Simon goes away with the Croatian national team, it might do him the world of good to get a break from everybody.”

When asked if there was anything said to Sluga in the aftermath of the defeat, Jones continued: “I’ve given my opinion at the end of the game as I’ve got 13 other boys to think about, who give their heart and soul, who mentally and physically were really consistent with three games in seven days.

“It’s new to them in the Championship and you have to take them into consideration, when they’ve put that level of effort into the game.

“Our game plan today was exactly where I wanted it to be without the errors.

“When you’re chasing its very, very different to 0-0 and then one opportunity, it’s disappointing the story of the game, I don’t really need to go into detail, I think everyone can see it.”

Town now face a fortnight off with the international break, but Jones wouldn’t be drawn on whether James Shea would get his chance between the posts when Luton return at home to Bristol City on October 19.

He added: “You need to have more than one good goalkeeper in your club, you need two and three at this level.

“I haven’t looked that far ahead, I need to be fair to my goalkeeper, he’s made two errors today which is plain for everyone to see.

“Life as a goalkeeper, which is damaging, it can be, there’s sometimes no margin for error in that position and it’s the old adage, we need to get back to the training ground and get back to work and work with him.

“It’s the only way you’re going to improve, you have to revisit things and put him in those situations.

“I’ll always work with players, I’m never one of those that’s, that’s it, never, ever.

“It’s just a moment he’s in, you don’t know how he feels.

“He’s played maybe in front of 28,000 people in a stadium like this for the first time, you have to take all those things into consideration.

“But one thing I need to take into consideration is, we can’t give goals away like that, it’s unfair on the other 13 players and that’s my job as a manager to manage that.”