‘Unless the rules have changed they can’t play 15’ - City call offs no excuse for Luton boss
Nathan Jones felt Luton Town were full value for a 3-1 League Cup win over Norwich City and had no time for any suggestion the Canaries’ mass list of absentees was the defining factor.
City travelled to Kenilworth Road missing nearly 20 players through international call ups, injuries or a suspension for Emi Buendia.
James Collins’ hat-trick fired the Hatters into Sunday’s second round draw, and Jones had no sympathy for the visitors.
“These are a good side. They had 15 go off to internationals, but not all are starters. They can’t start all 15,” he said, with Luton missing only two of their frontline options to international duty. “Unless the rules have changed they can’t play 15. Norwich have a squad where they will feel they can dictate games at this level.
“They have spent millions on (Jordan) Hugill, they have internationals like (Mario) Vrancic to bring on. (Onel) Hernandez, (Alex) Tettey, (Christoph) Zimmermann. Top players.
“I am sure when we meet them in the league it will be tougher again and they can add more quality with the internationals back, but we will be further along in our preparations.
“We felt we were in relative control out of possession, but they have wonderful footballers so they are going to get shots off although they found it very hard to break us down.
“We probably had better chances. It is a nice way to start.”
Kieran Dowell briefly drew City back on level terms with a snapshot from the edge of the area before Collins cashed in on slapdash defending to seal his hat-trick after an opening penalty conceded by Vrancic.
“Disappointed with the goal we conceded,” said Jones. “If you allow teams at Championship level a second or two in and around your box you are going to get punished. It was a great finish.
“The boy Dowell is some player, he finished last season well with Wigan. He was an England youth international, he is some player.
“That is the learning curve for us but I won’t berate them.
“We scored three and that is the only goal we have conceded in five pre-season games. It wasn’t an ideal time to concede but it was definitely an ideal time to re-take the lead.
“I know it was the League Cup but for me it was the final pre-season game.
“It sets us up nicely for our league start away to Barnsley. We were brave, we were front foot, the closing down was good and we went after the opposition.”