The Hatters have lost four in a row and seven of their last 10 matches.

Luton boss Graeme Jones considering calling in psychologist after Reading defeat

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  • 2019-11-10 03:05:21 3 days ago
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Luton manager Graeme Jones is to consider employing a psychologist for some of his players after his side's 3-0 Championship defeat at Reading.

It was Luton's fourth successive league loss and seventh in 10 matches which left them just one place and one point above the relegation zone.

Reading eased into a 2-0 half-time lead with well-taken goals from defender Michael Morrison and midfielder Ovie Ejaria.

Luton offered only a minimal threat throughout and were punished further in the 79th minute by home substitute Garath McCleary.

Jones said: "Some players don't need any psychological help. Sports psychology is what we're talking about here.

"I've worked at every level and, without revealing names, we've used sports psychologists through the years.

"Some people can repair themselves, some people need help.

"And we're at a point now where maybe we're going to have to think about going down that route.

"It's an area that I understand, it's an area that I will be looking at deeply.

"It's a reality of the mental step in the Championship, which I keep speaking about.

"As a group, that's an area that we have not overcome yet.

"I'll assess the boys when I speak to them and we'll take it from there."

About the game, Jones added: "That was very disappointing. We were outclassed, outplayed and outfought. That's it.

"I know that today wasn't good enough. No one needs to tell me. It's a realisation of where we are. That's what we've got.

"I work my backside off every day to try to make Luton as good as we can be. But, at the minute, it is not working.

"When you have only one shot on target, that defines where you are.

"Previously, we've always been a threat. Today, we weren't. So we've conceded three goals and we're not scoring.

"We need to remember what we are. Every individual needs to take responsibility, me included, and we have to do something about it."

Reading made it four matches unbeaten, which includes three home victories, under new manager Mark Bowen.

He said: "Before the game started, I was banging the drum.

"It was all about 'I don't care how we win the game, just get three points on the board'.

"Now I'm sitting here really full of pride for the manner in which we won the game.

"People might say that Luton weren't great but I'm a great believer that they're as good as you let them be. Simple as that.

"We married the two sides of the game exactly right – when you haven't got the ball and when you have got the ball.

"I know with the talent in my side that when we get it right when the opposition have the ball, we are a force to be reckoned with."

Goalscorer McCleary had effectively been in first-team exile under Bowen's predecessor Jose Gomes.

But Bowen said: "I'm delighted for Garath. I brought him back into things, to get the feelgood factor back for him.

"I see him in training every day and see the professionalism that he shows. He's never sloppy, he does things right.

"Saturday matchday, of course, is important. It's the main thing.

"But the players have to earn the right to be in my team and they have to be doing the right things every day.

"If they're not, they're not going to be in my team."

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Luton boss Graeme Jones considering calling in psychologist after Reading defeat

Michael O'Neill "obviously delighted" after dream start to Stoke tenure

Michael O'Neill was full of praise for his new Stoke side after they won 4-2 at fellow strugglers Barnsley to give him a victorious start as manager.

The day after his appointment, O'Neill saw his team move off the foot of the Championship table thanks to Sam Clucas' double.

O'Neill said: "We had to match their desire – no-one has a God-given right to be in the Championship.

"I'm obviously delighted with the result. It's one step in the right direction. It's very pleasing. It was a very good performance.

"Sam had a great performance and they were two great goals. His all-round game is excellent, hopefully the knock isn't too serious.

"In this third of the season, it is very important to get the three points. We showed a lot of quality today. The key was to make sure we got the result and the performance.

"They tested us to the max and they deserve a lot of credit for that."

O'Neill will remain in charge of Northern Ireland for the remainder of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

"It's important for me to finish the campaign with Northern Ireland," he added. "The players have given me everything for the last seven, eight years. It was a hard decision, but I thought it was a risk worth taking."

The new manager saw the Potters open the scoring after only seven minutes as Brad Collins in the Barnsley goal passed the ball straight to Clucas, who chipped the ball back over him from more than 35 yards.

Stoke doubled their advantage though Lee Gregory's penalty, but Cameron McGeehan pulled one back two minutes before the break.

Joe Allen made it 3-1 and Clucas added a fourth with another long-range effort before Patrick Schmidt got another one back for the hosts, who slipped below their opponents to the bottom of the table.

Barnsley caretaker-manager Adam Murray said: "The goals we conceded today are individual errors and that's the story of our season so far.

"It gets past frustrating and you get a little bit angry with it. The fans do and the players do.

"It's something I've said in the changing room – the players have to start taking responsibility.

"It's happened too many times for players not to learn and take that ownership. It's time for them to stand up."

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Lee Bowyer left gutted after Charlton lose to Millwall at the death

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer could not hide his disappointment after his side were on the receiving end of a Matt Smith stoppage-time winner as Millwall triumphed 2-1 at the Den.

A sixth-minute header from captain Shaun Hutchinson put Millwall in front, but they were pegged back shortly after half-time by Jonathan Leko's smart finish.

The game looked to be heading for a draw but Smith, brought on with just four minutes remaining, rose at the back post to earn the hosts all three points, leaving Bowyer ruing missed opportunities in what he believes was a dominant display.

"I'd have been disappointed with a point! We can't afford to not win this game, because I thought we were the better side," Bowyer said.

"I may be biased but this is what I'm watching, us playing the way we're playing. To come away with nothing is so disappointing. I can't express how disappointed I am.

"I thought we were better than them. I thought we dominated large parts of the game. First half we conceded an early set-piece which gives them something to hold on to but once we started passing the ball then we dominated the rest of the first half.

"Once we equalised I thought here we go, we're going to go and win the game. We were better than them. When we're moving the ball, we created a lot of problems for them.

"Once we equalised we stopped passing the ball, it became more of an even game, but I still felt that we'd go on and win the game, but we end up losing and getting nothing.

"We have to defend better. We've lost this game on two set-pieces. Defending set-pieces is easy, you just make sure your man doesn't score. That's it. It's simple.

"But for some reason their man wanted to score more than our man wanted to defend. And their goalie obviously played really well, but to come away with nothing, that's ridiculous."

The result extended Millwall's undefeated run over Charlton in the league, which charts all the way back to 1996, and the thrilling end to the game excited Lions boss Gary Rowett.

He said: "As a manager you want to win 3-0 and have a really easy afternoon, but if you can't do that there's no more exciting way to win a local derby than in the last two or three minutes.

"It was a difficult game, Charlton are a good side. They've shown that this season.

"I think at 1-1 it was a real turning point. People talk about Bart's (Bartosz Bialkowski) save, it's an unbelievable save, but their keeper has also made an unbelievable save so, I think we probably just edged the chances, Charlton edged possession and control.

"They then dropped a bit, and allowed us to get back into it. And then, we're at home, we've got to make attacking changes and try and force the game.

"If you put quality into the box with Matt he's the best in the division in those scenarios. As soon as he comes onto the pitch the players have to avoid just hitting him from anywhere and lacking respect for him as a player. We've got to work it into better positions to get the cross."

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