Hatters boss admits he made changes for Norwich defeat with postponed Rotherham clash in mind

Game called off after Town had completed their preparation

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 6:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th March 2021, 6:21 pm
Nathan Jones watches on as his side are beaten by Norwich today
Nathan Jones watches on as his side are beaten by Norwich today

Luton boss Nathan Jones admitted he made changes to his side for their trip to runaway league leaders Norwich City this afternoon with Tuesday night's postponed home clash against Rotherham United in mind.

After back-to-back wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest, Jones opted to bring in James Collins, Luke Berry, George Moncur, Martin Cranie and Tom Ince for Elijah Adebayo, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick, Glen Rea and Jorda Clark, with one eye on the midweek contest against the Millers.

However, that fixture was then called off on Friday evening due to the Millers players contracting coronavirus, the decision coming after Town had completed their preparation work for the Canaries clash.

Speaking after a 3-0 defeat at Carrow Road, Jones said: “The ironic thing is we made changes today with the Rotherham game on Tuesday in mind as we’ve had three tough games that have really gone to the wire and we knew it would be a difficult game.

“So we made changes to freshen it up so that we wouldn't be going into the Rotherham game on Tuesday (tired), then ironically that was called off late yesterday so it's been a bit disjointed the preparation.

“We found out considerably later than when we did our prep work.

“We’d been preparing for two games, so it’s not a weakened team.

"What it is, because we’ve done a big shift on Tuesday, then travelled, then to do a big shift today, which we knew we'd have to be and then travel again, and then go into the Rotherham game, we knew that we had to change some things up.

“With all probability we probably thought which of the ones are we probably more likely to win?

"I'm giving you inside info here, and probably the Rotherham game, the odds are stacked more in our favour than the Norwich one.

“So we made changes for this one to freshen stuff up, with an eye on that, it wasn’t to be, but there's nothing we can do.

“It’s a great learning curve for guys, these are the levels we want to attain, we weren't at it today, but I’m proud of my players as we stuck at it.

“I don’t see anyone throwing in the towel, I don't see anyone giving up on anything, we kept going right until the end.

“It’s just these are a better side than us at this moment in time.”

When asked if he was now happy to have a rest this week to prepare for the Swansea game on Saturday, Jones added: “I didn't really want it as Rotherham is our game in hand.

"We’d rather try to get points on the board, so say we picked up a point or three against Rotherham, then we’d be on level games with everyone and three points more.

"If we win our game hand for example, there was a possibility to go to 10th in the table and that's a wonderful, wonderful position to be in and that gives us confidence looking at the table.

“But it’s not to be, it’s not going to be played until early May, so that's unfortunate as it means we have to wait for our game in hand now.”

Although going in with five changes, Luton had the better of the opening 10 minutes, with Collins sending one effort wide and then hitting the post from a matter of yards.

City forward Teemu Pukki showed how it's done, netting two goals in the first half, while Todd Cantwell added a second with 17 minutes to go, as Jones added: “We were beaten by a very, very good side, they’re an outstanding side, the best side in the league, and they've shown that today.

“We started very well, two early chances were the best chances of the game, we needed to take that and they were just clinical when they got opportunities.

"They're a very difficult side to play against, they have a real brave structure, we tried to come here and press them but it was difficult.

"They are a very good side, we were beaten today by the best side in the league.”