Nathan Jones proud of Luton after ‘wonderful performance’ at Stoke

Stoke City v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Nathan Jones saluted a “wonderful performance” from his in-form Luton team after they triumphed 2-1 at his old club Stoke.

Danny Hylton and substitute Cameron Jerome notched the second-half goals which lifted the Hatters to within two points of the top six, though Jones won’t get carried away with any play-off talk.

“I couldn’t have asked the players for any more,” said Jones.

“In the first half we could have produced a little more quality, but in the second half we really took control of the game.

“We were super aggressive on the night, and without being disrespectful to Stoke, we could and probably should have scored even more goals.

“It was a really wonderful performance from the first minute to the last, and I’m really proud of the lads.

“We limited Stoke to very little in the way of chances, and that has to be a good thing and a huge positive.

“I think we’re safe from going down now. With the resources we have at a club like ours it has to be about staying in the division first and foremost, and I think we’ll do that now.

“We just have to keep believing in what we can possibly achieve now.”

Jones went on to admit that he regrets not being more of a success when he was Stoke boss in 2019.

“Both sets of fans sang my name tonight, but with very different words,” he added.

“It’s a regret of mine I wasn’t more successful when I was here. I know I should have given them better results during my time here.”

It was a dismal opening 45 minutes at a blustery bet365 Stadium.

Stoke forward Tyrese Campbell went closest when he forced Jed Steer into a fine save.

Luton appeared rejuvenated after the restart and went in front when Hylton superbly converted Harry Cornick’s cross.

Former Stoke striker Jerome then swept home a second, before Lewis Baker’s stoppage-time strike for Stoke proved a mere consolation.

Potters boss Michael O’Neill feels for the Potters fans, who booed his team off at the end.

“We were very poor in the second half,” said O’Neill.

“It had been OK in the first half and we seemed to be managing the conditions quite well, but the game became disjointed and we didn’t get the ball down and play in that second half.

“We lost two poor goals and we simply didn’t win enough duels.

“We are quite a young team for the Championship, but we allowed ourselves to get out-muscled and out-worked in what was a hugely disappointing performance.

“The most worrying thing for me, though, was the lack of self-belief. We really struggled with that side of the game, particularly in that second half.

“I know the supporters are frustrated, and of course they’re entitled to their opinions, I’ve no problem with that.

“They want to see a team that is capable of challenging for promotion from this division. I’m just not sure that we’ve got that at present.”

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