EPL

Rob Edwards admits he would have written off Luton’s hopes if he was an outsider

By Sports Desk December 24, 2023

Rob Edwards revealed he would have joined critics in writing off Luton’s Premier League survival chances before the start of the season if he had been an outside observer.

The Hatters boss saw his side win for the third time since their top-flight return against Newcastle on Saturday to pull to within two points of 17th-place Nottingham Forest.

It continued an impressive run at Kenilworth Road that in their previous four home games had seen them beat Crystal Palace and take the lead against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, albeit taking only a single point from those three fixtures.

Victory against bottom side Sheffield United on Boxing Day could see them move out of the bottom three for the first time since the start of December, when they briefly pulled clear by virtue of Everton’s 10-point deduction.

There has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of performances since the team were beaten in each of their first four games of the season.

And despite his side now looking a better bet for survival than they did in August, Edwards said he too might have been ready to dismiss Luton’s chances had he not been manager.

However, he was not in the mood to forgive those that prematurely counted the team out.

“To be honest I probably would have written us off as well, from outside,” he said. “But I think there’s ways of doing that and I think some people were disrespectful with how they did it.

“That angered me a little bit, but I don’t use that. I can’t affect what other people think or say or write. Some people gave good rationale; smallest budget, promoted out the play-offs, first time in the Premier League. I get that. But some of the stuff that was written was crackers.”

Edwards’ team made Newcastle look ordinary for large parts of Saturday’s victory, the first match Luton had played since captain Tom Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest during the previous weekend’s game against Bournemouth.

The manager said prior to the match that his team had sought a win for the sake of the absent 29-year-old, who was discharged from hospital on Thursday, but later insisted that victory against Newcastle had not been fired solely by emotion and sentiment.

“The performances have been good,” he said. “We haven’t won the game (against Newcastle) just because of what’s happened. We wanted to do it for Tom, but the performances have been there.

“It was probably more complete, we were able to put it together for 97 minutes. Maybe against Arsenal we had 75 minutes, against City we had around 60.

“The players have been performing really well for a long time now. I think we’ve been changing the narrative around us as well, around the football club with those performances. (On Saturday) we just got the result.”

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