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5 August 2018

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Town's longest serving player Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu has no concerns about the squad's ability despite the loss at Fratton Park, in which the Hatters put in a promising performance.

Pelly was pleased with the side's display, despite the fact they failed to find the back of the net at Portsmouth yesterday.

He said: "We've got a lot of positives from the game but unfortunately we've lost it 1-0. Moving forward, we've created a lot of chances at Fratton park and we're unlucky not to come away with a point, if not three.

"I thought we dominated the game. They had their chance and scored and that's how some games go. We've created more chances and had more possession and they've sat back, but we've got to try and break them down so it's a learning curve for us.

"Fratton Park is a big stadium and it's a big club, but we made our mark here and unfortunately didn't get the points after a good performance. At the end of the day we need those points and it is disappointing not to get them.

"It's frustrating, but we've got to learn from it. As the gaffer said, we've created enough chances and hopefully we can do that against Sunderland. But we have to take our chances when we get them and unfortunately, we didn't do that.

"We've got to move on to next week and hopefully get three points and get our season up and running."

The 24-year-old, who looked composed in midfield had a good chance before half-time when he saw his effort skim the outside of the post. That was one of many efforts that went begging for the Hatters – who just couldn't seem to find the back of the net on the opening day of the Sky Bet League One season.

The midfielder thought the Hatters had finally made the breakthrough when Collins saw his effort bounce off the bar, only for the ball to bounce back into play.

"I thought Collins had put it in and was unlucky not score, but we had lots of chances," Mpanzu continued. "Cornick had a good chance and today wasn't our day to put it in the back of the net, so we'll move forward onto next week. I thought I had got it in but when I saw it trickling away I knew it was just a bit wide. I couldn't get it out of my feet.

"Hopefully from the side line it looked like I was contributing to the team. I try to get on the ball to create things and I want to try and chip in with a goal when I can. Personally, I thought I had an OK game, but we've still lost so we need to put more effort in."

As Town prepare for next week's game against league favourites Sunderland, Mpanzu has said they will not let the Pompey defeat cloud his or his team mates' minds going into it.

He added: "It's hard to take the loss to be honest because we've dominated and just not put the ball in the back of the net. We've just got to think about next week now, make sure we're clinical in training and take that into the Sunderland game. Obviously they're a good side, they won against Charlton so we've got a point to prove.

"We've got to make Kenilworth Road a fortress. Sunderland are a big club from the Championship and we've just got to take it to them. We think we're good enough to beat them, we've just got to prove that next week."

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