Hatters boss believes the future is 'reasonably frightening' for Luton after a dominating derby win over Watford

Town chief lauds his side's display against the Hornets

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 6:30 am
Luke Berry goes up for a header against Watford on Saturday

Luton boss Nathan Jones believes what lies in store for the Hatters is ‘reasonably frightening’ following the manner of their 1-0 win over fierce rivals Watford on Saturday.

Although on paper it might look a close encounter, anyone lucky enough to be the game, or more than likely watching on internet streams from home, would have seen the hosts absolutely dominate their opponents from start to finish.

With 52 per cent possession and 16 shots to five, then the only real surprise was that it took Luton until the 78th minute to make their superiority count, substitute James Collins coming on to slot home from the penalty spot.

This was by no means a poor Watford side either, Xisco Munoz’s charges going into the fixture on the back of seven wins from eight, taking 22 points from 24, sitting second in the table and on the verge of promotion back to the Premier League.

But after watching the way in which his side proved too strong for the Hornets, collecting a first home win over their opponents since 1993, Jones couldn’t fail to be excited, as he said: “We pressed the life out of them, there was no fluency.

“I saw them play Reading the other day, they’ve played Nottingham Forest and we pressed the life out of them, smothered them.

“If you allow (Ismaila) Sarr and Joao Pedro and (Ken) Sema to play, they’ll hurt you, Will Hughes gets on it and starts dictating the game, they hurt you, so we didn’t.

“We went after them and said ‘go and run over them’, and that’s what we did.

“I’m very proud of that performance as it shows we can do that and if we can do that to teams like Watford, then we should be able to do that to pretty much anyone.

"We want to win the game, we really do, but it’s a bigger picture as well.

“As you look at the performance, you look at where we are and if you come away and say we’d drawn 0-0 in that game, we’re in a great place as it shows that we can go after top teams.

“The work we do is wonderful, we’re in a good place and we want to get better as we don’t want to rest on our laurels because every single year since I came here in 2016 we’ve got better.

“So if we can get better next year, the future’s reasonably frightening.”

What was noticeable was that Town didn’t allow their hosts any time on the ball from the moment referee Gavin Ward blew his first whistle as their midfield triumvirate of Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall bossed their more experienced counterparts of Hughes, Sema and Carlos Sanchez, the latter internationals for Sweden and Colombia.

Jones confirmed it had been part of his pre-game plan, saying: “That’s what you have to do as if you do allow their front three to get in the game, they can hurt you, they can hurt anyone and you only have to see the Reading game that Sarr was the difference.

“It was an even game and Reading probably had the better chances, but Sarr was the difference .

"That’s why they paid the money, that’s why he’s probably earning a fortune, that’s why he’s courting a lot of interest because they have players like that, but we went after them and I’m very pleased with that as the game-plan worked.

“We picked three to dominate their three not contain them, to dominate them.

“If you put Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall up against Will Hughes, for me, I know who I’d prefer.

“Pelly-Ruddock was absolutely magnificent, running over the top of people and Luke Berry has an intelligence about him that is higher level, it really is, his movement, his play and what he does.

“If I could put those three together you’d have a world class player, you really would.

“Bezza’s intelligence, Pelly’s athleticism and Kiernan’s all-round ability, but we picked a side not to contain Will Hughes, we picked a side to run over them and without being disrespectful we did that.”

After a 1-0 defeat at Watford back in September, which came a few days after going out of the Carabao Cup to Manchester UInited, Jones had labelled his side as lacklustre in their efforts during the Vicarage Road contest.

There was no such description this time though, as the boss added: “What it was with the away game, it’s different playing home and away, we love playing at home, it’s a real good place to play for us, but it came off the back of the Man United game.

“Three games in a week and then to get up for another game, a massive game, as the mental side of playing Man United is massive, because it doesn’t happen very often to our group of players.

"But today we had a good lead in, we had a good week, we’re in a good position in the league for us and we knew that we had to be aggressive against them.

“If you let them settle then they will hurt you, as they have more quality than us, so we had to really go after them, unsettle them and then we actually showed more quality.

“We’ve got players out there who we’ve got from Accrington Stanley (Jordan Clark) for nothing, how that boy is not playing in the Premier League I don’t know.

“Then the others have demonstrated an unbelievable amount of quality and we had a real togetherness, so everything came together, but tactically we knew we had to be right as they’re a good side.

“We had good energy, everybody played well and we’ve had a few injuries as well, Harry Cornick was out, Sam Nombe, so we lacked a bit of real pace, but it’s a wonderful performance and a good occasion for the club.

"We outworked them, we got on second balls and I thought we showed real composure today to play through midfield.

"Tactically, we worked on a lot of things that came out and I thought we got it right."