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NATHAN JONES ON THE 1-0 DEFEAT TO WEST BROMWICH ALBION

14 August 2018

Town boss Nathan Jones felt his side were excellent throughout their defeat to West Brom in the Carabao Cup this evening, as Luke Berry made his first appearance in a Town shirt since his severe ankle injury back in March.

After a strong opening 45 minutes from the Hatters, they fell behind just after hour mark when Oliver Burke pounced on a loose ball to tuck it past James Shea and bag what turned out to be the only goal on the night.

Jones made eight changes from the side that drew with Sunderland on Saturday, but the performance the Hatters put in was deserving of the gaffer's post-match praise.

The Welshman said: "I thought we were excellent throughout. They have just come out of the Premier League, we have just come out of League Two. Second half they were going to have a little bit of pressure, but I felt we defended very well second half.

"I thought we controlled the game first half. For a newly promoted League One side I thought we were wonderful, I really did and I am so proud of them. We got very unlucky with the goal. They showed the clinical edge to take the chance, it was a ricochet that gave them the opportunity and if we had shown that little bit more clinical edge then you never know, it could have gone to pens.

"For us to come and acquit ourselves, I can't be too down. It's not like we had them at our place. They had their home comforts. They came here with minus three big hitters, they made the changes at half-time so they were without just two and we matched them and I am so pleased with that.

"There will be Championship sides that will come here and be turned over far worse than we were."

Berry's return came as a little bit of a shock when the teams were announced at 7pm – the midfielder named on the bench, having been out since 30th March.
The manager said the graft his midfielder has put in to get back to fitness meant he warranted his place, with the former Cambridge United man getting seven minutes at the end of the game.

"We're not a charity, he's earned it," Jones continued. "If it was right to bring him on, it was right to bring him on.

"Both Glen and Pelly were fatiguing later on and we have got another game on the weekend, so it was important neither of them picked up an injury, so it was right to bring Bezza on.

"He's had a few touches, he got involved in the game, he's lacking real match sharpness because he's been out since March. He hasn't played a minute of football since March. His desire wanted to and I am delighted we could get him back involved.

"We've got to be careful with him because we can't rush him too much, he needs minutes and time. The medical staff take a lot of credit, the boy's desire – the kid is a warrior, we love him here.

"He works hard every day, he has a great attitude, he's positive in every way, in everything he does. He is fantastic and we're delighted he's ours. It was unlucky what happened to him, but he showed what can be achieved when you're a top professional."


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