Hatters chief felt he could have done better as he questions his own decision-making following shock Wigan loss
Town boss Nathan Jones declared he could have done better with his selection decisions both before and during the 2-1 defeat against Wigan Athletic at Kenilworth Road yesterday.
With Carlton Morris having put the hosts ahead, netting a towering header from Jame Bree’s cross in the first half, it looked like the Hatters were on their way to a first home win of the season.
During the second period, Jones brought off a limping Elijah Adebayo for Cauley Woodrow 10 minutes in, before a double swap in the 71st minute saw Harry Cornick and Cameron Jerome replace Luke Freeman and Morris.
By this time the visitors had brought on Graeme Shinnie and Thelo Aasgaard as part of a triple substitution of their own and it paid dividends as on 80 minutes, a poor clearance by Amari’i Bell seized upon by Ryan Nyambe, who fed Callum Lang, his cross-shot deflected in by defender Tom Lockyer to make it 1-1.
Jones then threw on Fred Onyedinma and Luke Berry for Allan Campbell and Jordan Clark with seven minutes left in an attempt to win the contest, but the changes left Town far too open at the back, as Wigan capitalised, Aasgaard curling home an excellent winner late on.
Speaking afterwards, Jones questioned his own decision making, as he said: “The changes I made today didn’t have an impact on the game, or didn’t have a positive impact on the game.
“Normally we bring on game-changers and they really do that, but they didn’t today.
“We’ve had enough of the game categorically not to have lost it, but probably to have won it and that’s the Championship for you.
“I’ve made changes and they haven’t come off, so I’ll look at that.
“Could I have made changes prior to the game to have given us more energy, but I thought we were pretty dominant in terms of the first half.
“I know the crowd are frustrated, but I think we’ve done enough on our third game in a week that we should have won.
“This is a tough league, it’s a little bit baffling, but we’ll watch it, we’ll evaluate and see what we could have done as I think I could have been better today in terms of changes I made prior to kick off and definitely through the game, as we finished the game wanting to win it but we ended up losing it.
“In midweek we went really positive and aggressive and won the game for that so it’s something we have to look at, and we haven’t kept a clean sheet again today which is something that we pride ourselves on.
“When I make game changers, when I bring Cameron Jerome, when I bring Harry Cornick off the bench we should have had more energy.
“Then I brought on Cauley Woodrow, Luke Berry, Fred and we should have been the one finishing strong, but their subs had a greater impact than ours today and that’s something we need to look at.”
Jones also thought in hindsight that he might have altered his starting XI more, only making one change from the team who beat Cardiff 2-1 on Tuesday night, Gabe Osho in for Reece Burke who suffered a head injury in Wales.
However, with the options available to him unable to complete 90 minutes, it was something Jones didn’t feel was right, adding: “I’m more concerned with my team’s performance in the second half and probably in the last 10 minutes.
“Because we haven’t gone on and scored the second which was a detrimental thing, but we had enough of the game to have not lost that game.
“We defended well for long periods, but we looked tired late on.
“Luke Freeman looked tired, Elijah, Carlton looked tired, Allan Campbell, Lockyer, but we’ve just had a massive block of games, big journeys, so it’s understandable and that’s something I’ll look at.
“Maybe we should have freshened things up and really changed it, but we’ve got a lot of people coming back, so to start, play 90, Berry, people like Cornick, (Alfie), Doughty, really, really difficult.
“Sonny Bradley’s been out, Reece Burke couldn’t do it, Fred Onyedinma, so I was really limited in terms of starters to change.
“That’ll improve, I’ll look at it and maybe we could have been better as a staff.”