Hatters boss wants Luton to replicate Hornets display against Royals

Town boss knows belief will be boosted by derby day triumph

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 2:12 pm
Luton's players celebrate James Collins' winning penalty against Watford
Luton's players celebrate James Collins' winning penalty against Watford

Luton boss Nathan Jones has challenged his players to replicate the kind of performance they produced against Watford on Saturday when entertaining Reading at Kenilworth Road this evening.

The Hatters quite simply outplayed their fierce rivals at the weekend from start to finish, dominating the entire game and were deserving of a victory by more than the single goal they eventually managed.

Town are now back on home soil once more tonight to take on a Reading side who are looking to get back into the play-off places after dropping out of the top six following a run of one win in seven games.

Ahead of the fixture, Jones said: “The challenge is doing that over 46 games, to do that and to have that belief and drive and aggression and quality as we showed every aspect of our play.

“It wasn’t just a cup tie for example, we put our bodies on the line and defended, it wasn’t, it was everything about it.

“The start, the control in our play, the variation in our attacking play, the way we defended, the way we pressed, the way we saw out the game, everything about it had real control about it.

"So it's about doing that over 46 games, but that’s difficult to do whoever you are, that’d difficult to do if you’re Man City.

"With us competing in the league now where we are severely outgunned, it’s difficult, but that’s a work in progress and that’s what we want to attain to.”

Jones had spoken before in the season about his players needing more belief at times to pick up results in the Championship.

There was plenty of that on display when defeating the Hornets as the Town boss knows days like that can only boost the players' mentality going forward.

He continued: “Of course and it will, results breed confidence and belief.

"There’s not a lack of belief, but to achieve something special you have to have consummate belief.

"We’ve achieved a lot at this club and its been built on confidence and that belief comes from when they see that work put into practice.

"We’ve always had a real good mentality here and with a bottom three budget, to be doing what we’re doing, then there must be something happening.

"It isn't just good work, it’s good work with good people, with talented players, that believe and want to achieve something, and that’s what we have done in relative terms.”

Although there were no supporters present on Saturday to witness James Collins' 78th minute penalty prove enough to earn Luton a first home win over Watford since 1993, Jones and the players knew exactly what the result meant to fans who were watching at home.

He added: “We do realise, we’re not playing down the magnitude of the game and what it meant to supporters and directors, to the chief executive and to us as well.

"We realised that, but it’s a game, we were on a level playing field with Watford now, so it’s not like it’s a cup upset.

"We didn’t see it as a major upset, we just saw it as us playing well against someone else in our league and thoroughly deserving the victory.

“The fact it was the local derby and that it’s been so long since we’ve played them and beaten them, that added to it and I’m hoping that will instill us with confidence as Watford are a very good side.

"Not many have dominated a game like that against them as I’ve watched them a number of times and they’re usually the dominant force in most games, but that wasn’t the case at the weekend.

“I’ve only got to look at my chief exec and the board who are fundamentally supporters to gauge that.

"I realised the importance, I knew the importance of a Luton Watford derby, and it’s a shame there wasn’t fans here as it would have been a wonderful day.

"The handful that did see the game in whatever capacity, then they will be delighted and we did it for them really as deep down we always do stuff for the fans.

"We can further ourselves personally, but it’s the fans at heart, so we’re delighted we managed to give those a real treat as they’ve earned that and deserved that.”