UPDATED: Still is founding Hatters’ success on defence

New Town boss John Still is laying the foundations for a successful future at Kenilworth Road by concentrating on Luton’s defence, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 7th March 2013, 4:54 pm

Still conducted only his third training session since taking charge today and organising Luton’s defence has been his top priority so far.

It has paid dividends too with two clean sheets so far - the 1-0 win at Stockport County on Saturday and the goalless draw at Nuneaton Town on Tuesday night.

He said: “The first place to look was defensively. When you put the first brick down, the first brick has to be right for the next brick to go on it. Well the defence is that first brick, it always is, to make sure that’s right we’ve got to work very hard.

“We’ve made a small, small, small step with that - nowhere near what we will be looking for. That’s really where the first step’s got to.”

The new boss is still very much settling in at Kenilworth Road and he’s pleased with the way the players are responding as the coaches broaden their scope on the training field.

He continued: “I’ve been pleased with how they’ve worked. They’ve worked tremendously hard and, at any level, two away games no goals, I’m happy with.

“If anything our work has been defensive. It’s been looking at defending. We’ve looked at some attacking options today.

“And it will be just a case of building it. There are no short measures to it. There is a process to it you have to go through and you can’t shortcut.

“You can’t move on to the next step until you’re happy with where you are. How long does that take? You never know, different groups of players even at the same club, as time evolves and players move on and you start working with a newer group you keep going through it.

“Some groups pick it up reasonably quickly, some a bit longer. It doesn’t mean to say that the people that pick it up early become the best at it, it doesn’t.

“Lots of jobs you go to you don’t really have a clue what you’re doing. You come in one day and everything’s in place, the penny drops.

“Everyone is working as hard as I would like them to work. Everyone’s focusing on what I want them to do, everyone’s concentrating on what we are asking from them.

“And that’s all I can ask for. It’s the way I’ve always done it.”

And while having a very clear vision of the way he wants the Hatters to play, Still is mindful to play to his players’ strengths.

He added: “I think you modify it and you look at players as well. It’s not set in stone.

“The format is and the idea is of what you are trying to achieve, but you can look at players in training and think maybe doing it this way ain’t quite for him so we’ll look at that way.

“And you do, you look at your players, and players, with the greatest of respect, who have the most ability accomplish more things.

“It doesn’t make them better at what they do. But it gives you more ways to go about it.

“It’s easy to say what you want them to do, but there’s many different ways to do it. You can say I want you to go out there and cross the ball.

“Well you can drive it, float it, you can fade it, you can bend it, you can dip it, you can swerve it, you can smash it, but they are all crosses.

“Someone might be better at doing it a different way so you look at it. That itself plays a part once you see what they’re capable of.”