Luton boss Graeme Jones admitted that the 5-1 pre-season defeat at home to Norwich City yesterday was a “wake-up call” for his side ahead of their Championship return against Middlesbrough on Friday night.
The Hatters were two goals down within six minutes and 4-1 behind at half time thanks to a Josip Drmic first half hat-trick as although Dan Potts pulled one back, the Canaries scored moments later.
Norwich, who won the Championship last season, were exceptional in pressing Town and then took each chance that came their way to make it 3-0, giving the hosts a lesson in how clinical teams will be when they make the step up from League One.
Jones, said: "(It was) a big lesson. I think I’d rather that happened today than next Friday, but I know the Premier League and I know the Championship and I think it’s a wake-up call for everybody.
“We had a game against Maritimo on Wednesday in 30 degrees (heat) and I think it took a lot out of the boys.
"I didn’t see the spark that had been there in previous games and obviously we flew back yesterday so that definitely had an impact.
“I’ll have a look at the physical stats and that’ll confirm my subjective opinion but I think you have to give Norwich credit as well.
"They finished 24 places above us last season and I know from my own personal encounters with them that they’re a very, very capable team tactically but, in particular, physically. I thought they were very, very strong individually.
“We’ll go away, chop it up and look back at it. We have to learn from it.
"People talk about a step up and that’s a step up that we need to get right. It’s a sobering effect but we need to get ready for Friday night, not today.”
It was a chastening first half on his first game at Kenilworth Road as manager, but all too often there were fundamental errors that added to his side’s woes and Jones admitted that has to be eradicated quickly as the pre-season preparations are over with less than a week to work on things on the training pitch.
He added: “I’ve come into Luton Town and I’ve got total respect for what’s gone on before me, but I also have got the experience of working in the Championship and the Premier League for 10 out of the last 12 years.
"Norwich had six in the box, we’ve got three zonal (marking) and the spare man scores.
“There are lots of things we’ve got to work at and lots of things we’ve got to get right between now and Friday night.
“We need to learn quickly. This learning curve can’t go on. The learning curve finishes on Friday night and we need to be ready.
“When I got offer the Norwich fixture, I thought about it because I could have easily played a League One side here and won today, but I think we’ll benefit from having that level of opponent. It will over-prepare us for Friday night.
“We have to take it on the chin and we have to make sure that we’re ready for Friday night.”