Confidence the buzzword for new Luton boss
CONFIDENCE is key for new Luton Town manager Paul Buckle as he looks to get off to a winning start against struggling Hayes & Yeading at Kenilworth Road this afternoon, writes Mike Simmonds.
Hatters haven’t won for eight games in all competitions and there appeared to be an alarming lack of self-belief amongst the players during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Conference part-timers Braintree.
Buckle officially took charge of the club yesterday and confirmed his first job would be raising spirits within the squad.
He said: “Confidence is the biggest thing in football, and the biggest thing in life, no matter what you do.
“If you’re confident you step forward, if you’re not confident you step back. I think the big part is I know their fears, I can feel their fears, I’ve been there and felt it both ways.
“There’s definitely a lack of confidence. Football is about being confident. You win games of football and when you’re winning it’s great, when you’re losing it’s not a nice feeling.
“It’s about talking and all the players communicating. It was far too quiet on the pitch at Braintree for my liking and we’re going to have to stand up and be counted.”
On why confidence is so low at the club, despite a victory potentially taking Town back into the top five, Buckle believes it has come from the players not killing off teams when in the lead.
He continued: “I think eight games is quite along time when you haven’t won.
“You’re leading against York, do you step forward and get the second one, or do you try and hold them at 1-0. Well, the latter, and that’s not the way to try and win games in my opinion.
“You’ve got to try and go and get the second goal. In my experience, teams very rarely give up when playing against a Torquay who have been relegated or a Luton who’ve found themselves relegated out of the league.
“You have to end it, you have to get the second goal and then get the third, you really do.
“You have to try and finish it it. That’s got to be the mentality of the players.”
Buckle is well aware of the pressures that come with being at a former League club in the Conference, as he was in charge of Torquay United when they were relegated from League Two, so acknowledged the added pressure of being at place with such rich history and expectation as Luton.
He said: “They’re not the big club and one thing they can do is fight you and try and outrun you.
“So all of my teams I’ve had that can’t happen. I’ll stomach a misplaced pass because we’ll react to that. What I won’t stomach is not being able to work hard, and really, really match them and we’re going to have to do that.
“The analogy, I would use, is in the FA Cup games, why are there always shocks?
“Because the so called bigger teams take their foot off the gas and think it owes them something and the smaller team fights and tries.
“I’ll tell what, fight and hard work can get you places, so it’s a massive, massive part of it and it’s something I truly believe in.”
Opponents Hayes are currently fourth from bottom in the division, four points from safety, so Buckle is prepared for what sort of game plan they will bring to Kenilworth Road.
He said: “Without a shadow of a doubt, they’ll be really looking forward to coming to Luton to play here and I want us to match that.
“I want us to look forward to coming here and playing at this ground, not be afraid of it and lets come with that strong mentality.
“If you come in wishy washy you’ll probably get that sort of performance. The mental side of it is massive, absolutely huge. Clubs have got nothing to lose coming here, it’s always a really dangerous proposition so we’ll be guarded about that.”
The atmosphere around Kenilworth has been an edgy one in recent weeks, with former boss Gary Brabin coming in for a barrage of abuse.
Another 6,000 are expected to be in attendance today, so the new manager was hopeful they would play a huge part in creating a positive environment for their side.
Buckle added: “Fans always play a major role. When you play the game you hear it all, whether there’s a murmur or a really vibrant atmosphere.
“But we play a major part in that, it’s how we come out. The supporters pay really good money to come and watch. We’ve got to show them from minute one we’re up for it, we really mean business and if we get a goal, we’re willing to go and get another one.
“I’ll do everything I can in the short space of time to get the players in the right frame of mind and know the Luton supporters will back that.
“Against Braintree when we conceded, the first thing I heard was the Luton fans singing. I couldn’t believe my ears. You’d have thought, they’d have had enough, but they started singing.
“That’s how you have success, that’s how it happens, but I must stress it’s very easy to talk about it, it’s up to all of us to go and do it.”
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
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