Lessons learnt by Hatters boss after Fratton Park loss
Hatters manager Nathan Jones felt he learned some valuable lessons about his players during the 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth on Monday.
Going into the game on the back of an impressive 3-1 win over Barnet, Luton were slow out of the blocks in front of a bumper crowd at Fratton Park, with the hosts taking the lead on the half hour through Christian Burgess.
Luton improved greatly in the second period, coming close to an equaliser through Danny Hylton and Jonathan Smith, but Jones was left to rue the disappointing first half display.
He said: “I was really, really disappointed with us because we didn’t show any bravery, we just waited for stuff to happen.
“We didn’t learn from the first game (3-1 defeat) in terms of them scoring from a set-play. They were excellent in the second half but in the first half we were miles off it, not brave. A few of them in there (dressing room), it was a bit too much for them, I think.
“We were nowhere near the levels we’ve had. I’ve learnt a lot about my players today. Mostly good but I’ve learnt one to two things about others that we need to address because the first half performance wasn’t good enough.
“We weren’t brave enough. We knew that we’d get pressed and we didn’t handle the ball well enough, but in the second half we did and we looked a far, far better side.
“We played most of it with 10 men because Danny (Hylton) couldn’t move, and we were the better side, so I was really proud of them as they came out and I thought they deserved something.”
Jones also shouldered some of the blame himself after opting for pretty much the same team who finished the New Year’s Eve win over Barnet.
He added: “Maybe it’s my fault and I wasn’t brave enough in my team selection in how we went, but I stuck pretty much with what played the other day (against Barnet).
“They’re (Portsmouth) full of experience, fair play to them, they’ve got a good, experienced side that handle big occasions.
“I didn’t think we handled it well enough in the first half.
“We didn’t get the ball down, we gave it away too much and looked a little bit off it.
“Whereas in the second half they came out and had a right go. We were the better side, we were on the front foot and it was just disappointed that we couldn’t get the goal.
“I’m just disappointed with the first half because that wasn’t us, that wasn’t my team out there.
“In the second half it really was and I thought we were far, far better.”