Hatters chief reflects on a 'well-planned' season as Town achieve top half finish

Luton manager believes side have evolved from the team that finished last term

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 8:55 am
Updated Saturday, 8th May 2021, 8:58 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones celebrates a win earlier in the season

Town boss Nathan Jones has reflected on what he described as a ‘well-planned’ season that has seen the Hatters achieve a top half finish and their best points haul in the second tier since the early 1980s.

The Welshman had returned to take over a club in a very different place last term, as with nine games to go, they were second bottom and a seemingly daunting six points from safety.

Jones instantly turned the Hatters into a side that were far harder to beat, as barring a 5-0 hammering by Reading, they only conceded seven goals in their other eight matches.

Taking 16 points from a possible 27 saw Luton achieve Championship safety on the final day when beating Blackburn Rovers, but that was never the aim for Jones going into the new season, as he wanted to move his team on from one whose ultimate aim was to stay in a game and then try to go for a winner in the second period.

It has worked a treat too, Luton picking up 17 victories and might even earn themselves a top 10 police this afternoon if they beat QPR and other results go their way.

Looking back over the season, Jones said: “The end of last year wasn’t what we wanted to be.

“Ironically we won 1.8 points per game which is not far off promotion form but we knew we couldn’t play like that forever and we didn’t want to play like that forever.

“Then, we set ourselves out to be more proactive, to press higher, to control possession a little bit more and to have a little bit more cutting edge and I think we have achieved that.

“As the season has gone on, we’ve had a bit of inconsistency but that is just professional sport in general, plus the level that we’re at and where we are in our evolution.

“Yet in the last two months, apart from the odd game, we have really been a front-footed side that has tried to control possession, wants to go after teams and we want to develop that.

“It has come with work, it hasn’t been a conscious thing where we have got a certain amount of points and then we can just let the shackles off, because we haven’t done that.

“We have played in a similar way, similar shape, similar people.

“We have gone after teams, there might be a little bit more freedom in their mindset but that is subconscious.

“We haven’t told them ‘we’re okay now, relax,’ we have asked them to continue to do things and play on that basis.

“There was always going to be that because it is very difficult if you are on 39 points to be as bold and as brave.

“I respect that but we have never been under real problems this season.

“There have been stages in the season where we actively said ‘we need points.’

“We went to Birmingham, we weren’t fluent, we weren’t brilliant but we needed to win and we won the game.

“There has been points this year and I kept a diary so I could literally list them where we needed to give ourselves distance and to not go two or three defeats on the spin, we have needed to do that and we have always done that.

“That is what we meant that we have had breathing space to evolve and continue to progress.

“I think it has been a very well-planned season, we have been very structured and methodical in what we have done.

“Those are the things as to how we have been able to develop and evolve, as I said we are not finished yet.”