Nathan Jones’ Hatters may have suffered their first defeat of the new season when going down 2-0 to Sky Bet Championship side Ipswich Town on Tuesday night, but the Town boss believes the Carabao Cup first round tie will act as part of the education process for both his team and himself.
After smashing eight past Yeovil three days earlier, the Hatters lost to a David McGoldrick brace at Kenilworth Road but created several good chances and dominated for long spells, particularly after half-time.
After preparing for the trip to Barnet on Saturday with a session that included Danny Hylton and James Justin getting vital minutes in an 11-a-side game involving the youth team at The Brache, Jones spoke of how pleased he was when he watched a replay of the cup tie.
“I’ve got to be honest, I watched the game back yesterday and I was thoroughly delighted with our play, I really was,” the Welshman told the local media at his Press conference this afternoon.
“There was a spell in the second half from about 50-70 minutes where our goalkeeper didn’t actually touch the football, we were that dominant.
“The thing about Mick McCarthy’s sides are they are very difficult to break down, they are very hard-working and very strong and they proved that.
“The difference in why we lost the game was they had that little bit of quality up front in David McGoldrick, and we didn’t quite do our defensive responsibilities right – which is the thing that is probably the difference between Championship and what we are trying to do right now.
“We think we have a structure, an environment and a club that’s Championship, but we’ve got to get there on the pitch.
“I was immensely proud of them and I would imagine Mick would have been proud of his, because they showed a real resilience and defensive strength because we tested them.
“They tested us because we were at full stretch at times to control them, but we had Ipswich at full stretch and they just showed what a good side they were.”
Asked whether he learns things about himself, or takes things on board from more experienced managers, on occasions such as Tuesday night, Jones replied: “Of course, I really like Mick – I came up against him when I was at Brighton, and I study managers.
“I study formations and leagues. I did it when I was in the Championship, I’m having to study this league more now and I’m hoping to get to know League One very, very soon.
“But I do. I have good experience around me and I know experienced people like Chris Hughton, who I tap into. It’s all about an education and I’m learning.
“I believe I’m at a certain level as a coach and I’m very confident. I wouldn’t say arrogant, but I’m very, very confident in what I do coaching wise.
“But as a manager I’m learning, and I’ve managed to work with some real good people. I have a lot working here with me, but people like Chris Powell, Chris Hughton, Oscar Garcia, Sami Hyppia – I learned a lot from – and other people who I speak to. I’m learning and developing because I want to be as good as I can.”
Jones also spoke more about his plans to develop new signing from Bournemouth, Harry Cornick, into a central striker and how the Hatters beat off competition from four other clubs to sign the 22-year-old.
The manager is proud that the environment that the club has provided for developing players, who put their trust in continuing their education at Luton, is being talked about.
“The thing about it is, we go in for players that are desirable to everyone else so we have to have that environment,” said Jones. “We have to have that, we have to be good at selling ourselves, and then back it up, because last year Danny Hylton had a number of offers but chose to come here.
“Johnny Mullins was the same, Jack Stacey was the same, Alan McCormack, James Colling, Andrew Shinnie, Elliot Lee – a lot of these have had higher league offers.
“We believe we do good work and people talk. A lot of our introduction is done by o own players speaking to other players, so it’s a good place to be.
“But it’s very proud when people choose you to continue their education, and it’s not just players; it’s agents, parents and families because they see what we are doing. It’s very good.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to face Barnet at The Hive, Jones says that striker Isaac Vassell and left-back Dan Potts, who missed Tuesday’s game through illness and a slight knock respectively, will be back in the squad after training today.
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