Opposition view: Luton Town ready-up for exciting Chelsea encounter
Luton Town continue their Premier League campaign with a trip to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge tomorrow evening.
Q: You’ve seen a lot of long-standing players leave the club this summer, do you think the squad is in a position to challenge right at the top this season?
A: The money spent has been well documented for obvious reasons but with so many new signings and outgoings, there is little to no cohesion. Mauricio Pochettino is an elite manager and I think given time he can get us right to the very top in Europe but time is the key word there. As far as this season goes however, the squad is simply too young and there are too many new signings throughout the squad to really push Manchester City and Arsenal this season, but I do think we will finish in the top six, hopefully top five.
Q: A draw and a loss in your first two, what do you make of Pochettino’s games in charge?
A: It was a strange sense of déjà vu on Sunday against West Ham, we could and probably should have been comfortably ahead by half-time but then the missed penalty changed the game and we saw the Chelsea of old in the second half. Liverpool was almost a total reverse, we were poor in the first 20 minutes or so, before dominating the rest of the game. Overall there has been a huge improvement already from last season’s shambles in terms of performance but now we need that win and I do hope Poch goes back to the four from pre-season on Friday.
Q: How do you feel about Pochettino’s history with Spurs?
A: Personally, it does not bother me, that is in the past and if anything, what he did at Spurs is hugely promising for what he can do for us now, with a young squad full of potential. Hopefully he can do what he could not at Spurs and win us a trophy or two but in terms of his history it does not bother me – I find it funny how much Spurs fans are riled up by it!
Q: Do you have any worries about the turbulence faced since Boehly bought the club?
A: Of course! It has not exactly been a quiet start to his reign, spending almost a billion pounds, selling virtually every player who was previously there, sacking a hugely popular manager to replace him with one nobody wanted, only to sack him again and bring back Frank… But now hopefully with Poch in charge we can enjoy the rebuild process and maybe with that may come some sort of stability – not that I am holding my breath!
Q: What have you made of Luton Town’s rise to the Premier League?
A: It was a quite incredible rise to the Premier League to be honest, I certainly would not have had you among the Championship front runners, no offence! It is an incredibly difficult league to get out of with so many games played and even then you had to do it the hard way in the play-offs. I am sure you all had one of the best days of your lives at Wembley but without sounding patronising, the real challenge starts now and with so many great teams in the Premier League, it would be an outstanding achievement to stay up.
Q: When the clubs meet again at Kenilworth Road on the 30th December, what do you think the mood will be for both sets of fans?
A: Hopefully we will have come through our difficult October/November run and be in and among the top six places after a comprehensive Boxing Day demolition of Crystal Palace. As far as you guys are concerned, it will be tough but those games against the likes of Everton, Fulham, Wolves, Sheffield United, Burnley and Bournemouth are crucial, if you can win a few of them, confidence will grow and you may surprise a few people.
Q: Can you see any Chelsea players in particular having a standout game on Friday night?
A: I think it is about time Raheem Sterling put in that 90 minute performance we all know he is capable of doing, he has been excellent in two halves out of four so far this season and we have looked our best in those periods. If he can establish a connection with Nicolas Jackson on Friday night, we could click and look very good indeed. I also hope Moises Caicedo starts and has a steady game – his cameo against West Ham was a tough watch to say the least.
Q: What is your score prediction?
A: It is quite difficult to assess where you guys are after just one game against a very good Brighton side, but back at the Bridge, I think it will be difficult for you, if we click I think we can score a lot of goals against anybody but I am going to assume we won’t quite be at our very best this early in the season, so I am going to say 2-0 Chelsea.