Buckle: Work ethic was behind opening victory
TOWN boss Paul Buckle revelled in his side’s new-found work ethic as they begun his reign with an entertaining 4-2 triumph over Hayes & Yeading on Easter Monday, writes Mike Simmonds.
With just a day to prepare his side, Hatters looked a far more confident proposition than they had in recent weeks, ending a run of eight league and cup games without a win in the process.
Buckle said: “The work ethic, they have all bought into that. Our work ethic was fabulous, our shape was good and I said to them afterwards, I hope you enjoyed it.
“That’s what it’s about. It’s not about coming in and giving sub-standard performances. People pay good money, I understand that and I think the players showed they were desperate to get back into the Football League.
“We’ve crushed them in the goals we scored. They were outstanding, fabulous goals. That’s the mood I want the players in and am trying to create that ruggedness and nastiness, so when you get the ball back you pass it at tempo, strike it at tempo. The strikes for the goals, we meant it.”
After watching from the stands at Braintree as Luton were handed a 3-1 defeat, Buckle was quick to call his players in for training on Sunday, in the knowledge he had plenty of work to do with the squad before Hayes turned up at Kenilworth Road.
He continued: “I was very disappointed with the Braintree performance and result. I apologise to the fans that travelled up there because that was dreadful.
“But what a reaction. I thought we were excellent. Yes we’ve got to be better on set-plays which is something we’ll be working really hard on. But ultimately I have to be happy, I thought we were on the front foot and thoroughly deserved to win.
“There’s nothing worse than a player coming off a pitch thinking I could have done more. My job as manager is to organise us. They needed a rocket and I think they got it.
“Now they can go and feel good about themselves and show what good players they are, so I was delighted with the response.
“I don’t know what’s gone on in training before, but we won more second balls than we had.
“Their keepers kicks it up, our keeper kicks it up, it bounces in the middle, who’s going to win it, us or them?
“It was more us, and in the last 10-20 minutes we played some great stuff, back heels and that only comes on the back of doing things right.
“I’m a great believer if you do things right in the week, you’ve got a chance on a Saturday.”
The fighting spirit that Town showed in overcoming their struggling opponents is something that Buckle now wants to be repeated for the remaining five games of the league campaign, starting at Alfreton on Saturday.
He said: “We’ve got no hope of getting out of this division if we’ve got a team just going on to the pitch thinking it’s going to happen. No chance.
“Everyone looks forward to coming to play here, certainly Hayes had nothing lose and they came and actually had a go, so credit to them for that.
“The way to get on the front foot is to go and be aggressive and press the ball. Not think about the playing side as the playing side will take care of itself because we’ve got some good technical players.
“That has to come I think at every level, but especially in the Blue Square Premier. If teams feel there is a weakness there when they prod us, they won’t go away.
“If they prod us and we stand strong, they won’t get near us. That’s something I’m trying to get over very quickly because that’s what you need to get out of this league.
“We can’t come off the gas at all. We’ve got to look at what we did right and what we did wrong. Everyone will be in to debrief, we need to build on it now.
“We’re not the finished article, the players know that. The way (Keith) Keane played and (Godfrey) Poku and (Alex) Lawless, I thought they were outstanding in the middle.
“There wasn’t a bad player. The drive was there as even when (Craig) McAllister came on he was shutting down the keeper and full back. That’s what Luton people want to see, what I want to see, and we know we’ve got it all to do.”
Buckle had preached he was after a more vocal Hatters side on the field too, and felt he got that on Monday, adding: “We were very, very quiet at Braintree, but that can happen when you haven’t won for eight games.
“If an opposition comes up against a quiet team they think there’s going to be something there for them. If they come up against a vibrant team who are talking and up for it, with the skill we’ve got, they know they’re going to be in for a game.
“With one minute left, I see (Janos) Kovacs put his head to the floor as they’re taking a goal kick. I screamed at him and he probably thinks I’m crazy.
“But I said to them if you’ve got a team and time’s running out, you really want to squeeze them and have some self pride to say we’re back into shape, we’re talking.
“We’ve been dipping in and out lately as I looked at a couple of DVDs. You’ve got to get back in quick and willing to do the horrible side and that’s why we’ve got thee points.”
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