Reaction | Alan McCormack on QPR win!

Hatters Under-18 head coach Alan McCormack spoke of his pride in his side’s resilience after coming from a first-minute goal down to beat QPR 3-1 in the FA Youth Cup fourth round at Kenilworth Road tonight.


Jake Burger equalised within six minutes, Oli Lynch put the Hatters in front on 12 minutes and then man-of-the-match Zack Nelson eased any second half nerves with a 72nd-minute third after the Town, according to McCormack, had been forced to “defend the cage” in a way they haven’t had to on a regular basis in their EFL Youth Alliance South-East Division campaign.

“First half, I’ve got to say I thought we played some really good stuff, we just weren’t ruthless in front of the goal,” said McCormack, whose side will face Preston North End in the fifth round next month, with the opportunity to seal their league title in between.

“You have set-backs in games, but it happened so early there was still 89 minutes to play to go and get an equaliser, and we got it really quick, which is nice because it showed me that the mentality was focussed on the game and still on the job that we had to do.

“We spoke at half-time about a few little things to look out for, to try and get better. We were a little bit weak in our 50-50s. Yes, we show teams respect, but I thought we showed them too much respect in the tackle tonight, and I want my teams to be possession based, but also aggressive in doing that, and that’s in possession and out of possession, to be aggressive and brave in the challenge or brave to get on the ball.

“We wanted to change that, and then in the second half we found ourselves defending for the whole 45 minutes I think, so I’m really, really proud of the boys.

“To see something that we probably aren’t used to doing – and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way – but we do try to dominate possession for 90 minutes, and we do try to keep hold of the ball, and we know there will be spells where we don’t have it.

“So to have 45 minutes where we had to be really resilient, be relentless in everything we do, in our shape and shifting across the pitch, and everything getting to the man quickly, stopping shots, blocking crosses, putting our bodies on the line, supporting players, everything that we look for as a Luton Town player off the ball, I thought they showed to every man.

“So the pride for the boys for that, to weather the storm for as long as they did and to do everything that they did off the ball, which they are probably not used to in the game programme that we have on Saturdays, so I’m really proud of them for that and really proud that they take on the out of possession information and it sinks in and stays.”

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