Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes his side’s performance during their 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth on Saturday shows they are more than capable of mounting a promotion challenge this season.
Although Town left Fratton Park empty-handed, they won plenty of plaudits for the manner in which they performed and on another day would have taken all three points, had the woodwork not denied Alan Sheehan and James Collins.
If this is the benchmark of what we’ve got to achieve, then we’re going to get there, I guarantee we’re going to get there.Nathan Jones
Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “If this is the benchmark of what we’ve got to achieve, then we’re going to get there, I guarantee we’re going to get there.
“Pompey’s a big club, great atmosphere, proper club, proper atmosphere.
“This is what we wanted, without being disrespectful, we wanted to step up a level, we want these games and we were brilliant.
“I’m proud of them as they showed bravery and for me we were by far the better side as Portsmouth are a good side, Portsmouth are fancied and to do that, but it’s a learning curve.
“We go up a level, we might have got away with that at Morecambe or some place like that, but we didn’t and that’s the learning curve for us, as if we want to mount a challenge, we’ve got to be right at it.
“There’s two little defensive errors there (for the home side’s goal), we should have done better on it and we didn’t.
“But apart from that, our structure, how we worked, how we competed, how we moved the ball, I thought we were excellent, I really did.”
It wasn’t just the bar and post that Luton were left rueing, as Harry Cornick had a great chance in the second, only to shoot straight at keeper Craig MacGillivray, when he should have gone for the bottom corner.
Jones urged the attacker to learn and learn quickly, as he added: “If we’re clinical, we come away from here with something, we really do.
“Look Harry’s on a learning curve, he really is, but if he can just find that, we’ve got some player on our hands.
“But he’s got to, because I can’t keep saying it.
“We work on it day in, day out in training, structurally, the finishes he gets in games, we look at them, we analyse them, we put them into practice, we replicate them, we can’t do more.
“It’s great movement, great ball, he’s gone near post, he’s got to go across the keeper there.
“Because even if he saves it, James Collins is tapping that in, but what a great performance.
“Apart from not being clinical, and that one lapse, I was proud of our team, our set up, how we train, how we do stuff, that came out today.
“Credit to Portsmouth, they stuck at it, they rode their luck, they dug in, and you’ve got to do that.
“I thought Matt Clarke was immense for them, because otherwise, I think we’d have been totally dominant.”