Jones backs his young group to learn from Stevenage defeat

Hatters boss Nathan Jones believes his young side will learn their lessons from a 2-0 defeat to local rivals Stevenage at the weekend.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 3:11 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:00 am
James Justin is closed down by Stevenage's Jobi McAnuff

With an average of 23, compared to the visitors’ 29, Luton had just two players over the age of 30 in Alan Sheehan and Jonathan Smith, compared to Boro’s six players over 30, including 41-year-old keeper Chris Day.

Although Jones did point to a certain level of naivety from his youthful team, having watching the match back again, he didn’t feel Town’s opponents had wanted the victory more than the Hatters, soemething he had levelled at his players after the game.

The Luton chief said: “I’m not sure they wanted it more, it just seemed like that on the day, but I don’t think they did.

“I’ve got a good group here, I keep saying they’re a good group, sometimes a bit of naivety as we’re a young group.

“We are a younger group than the majority and we’re a fresh group and they’re learning, so it’s about educating them as well, and we will learn from that.

“They’re doubly determined as we are in a very, very good position. What we have to do is make sure that we don’t keep wasting these little opportunities that we get as in the end they run out.

“We’ve got 11 massive games and we’re in a great position. I wouldn’t want to be in this position with any other group of players than I have, because I love them.”

With Boro possessing the likes of 35-year-old Jobi McAnuff, whom Watford once shelled out £1.75m on, plus Charlie Lee (30) and Steven Schumacher (32) as a midfield trio, then, Jones felt their extra experience played its part on the day, saying: “I think it might have, they showed a bit of nous.

“What we have to do is, our midfield dominated the away game there in terms of real know-how and the way we played, but we weren’t as fluent.

“Fair play to Stevenage, they came here, had a gameplan, and they executed it very, very well.”

It was set-plays once more that were to be the problem for Hatters, as former defender Luke Wilkinson powered home a corner from close range after just two minutes.

An exasperated Jones reiterated the need for his side to up their concentration levels, as he said: “You can do what you can do on it, but a lot of times it’s just individuals marking individuals.

“We can walk them through the run that people make on regular occasions and the areas that they score from, we can’t really do more than that.

“Then it’s up to individuals, the keeper (Matt Macey) could do a little bit better and then so could Scotty who he knows, who’s done very well for us and marks their best one.

“It’s just unfortunate as we actually have more set plays than anyone else, and we have good invention about things, just us about us jaling down those things and having a real concentration.

“Not only just when defending them, but attacking them as well, because we have real good variation on them, but sometimes go to sleep on those things.”

Although Macey felt he had been impeded, Jones thought the Arsenal on-loan stopper could well have stayed on his line, adding: “Maybe he didn’t need to come out. it’s just a little thing, a little learning curve, but we still have to head the ball.

“We put markers up, and just say, ‘make sure your marker doesn’t score.’

“Now there are different systems and people have blockers and people have this, but at the end of the day it’s a personal thing and always has been a personal thing.”