Chambers: It's a Catch-22 Situation
Monday, 12th Mar 2018 17:41
Luke Chambers has addressed the subject of the thin line between results and entertainment, which is at the core of the current discontent among supporters convinced Town would benefit from a change of manager.
The vast majority of fans who last season surrendered their season tickets, as well as those thinking of following suit this summer, have cited the lack of entertainment on offer at Portman Road as the main reason for their dissatisfaction.
Club captain Chambers said: “Yes, entertainment is an issue in football, but I remember when MK Dons came up to the Championship and played good football. They went straight back down.
“We’re playing games where we’re getting results but at the end of the day people are paying their money to come along and be entertained – and if they’re not being entertained they’re not going to come.
“It’s a Catch-22 situation and I haven’t got all the answers. I’m sure the [owner] and the manager will discuss what the plans are moving forward and, as players, all we can do is what we have always done – try to give absolutely everything on the pitch.
“Yes, I think we can take more responsibility and possibly do more in terms of scoring goals, creating chances and defending.”
The counter-argument to MK Dons and, say, Charlton Athletic going down playing good football is that Swansea and Bournemouth went up to the Premier League playing good football. It can happen, can’t it?
Chambers added: “It can but I’m not sure what their budgets are. You hear a lot of talk about money but these aren’t things that I can comment on.
“I would love to play like Swansea and Bournemouth played but we’re still punching above where we should be, although that can’t always be the answer, can it? I don’t really know what else to say to you.”
Asked if something has to change for the club to move forward, Chambers replied: “It’s a difficult question. How many teams have gone down and never gone back up to the Premier League?”
But the experienced defender is clearly not blind to his own team’s shortcomings, adding: “The lads have got to take a bit more responsibility and put their foot on the ball when the chance occurs, take responsibility and offer angles for each other a bit more.
“I feel we can work more for each other, and definitely more as a team, with the ball. We work very, very hard without it, which is one of our strengths.
“You can be given all the instructions in the world but you have to make the decision on the pitch whether to control it and pass it short or play it long.
“Yes, we play to our strengths at times, but it can have the same effect if you have the ball in your bottom right-hand corner and you hit a diagonal pass to your team-mate that puts you in the attacking third in one pass as opposed to 50 passes round the back. You’re still getting there and it’s the same result.
“It might not be as pleasing on the eye but we play to our strengths and we’ve signed players to play that way. But people do have to relax a little bit more and not get sucked into the environment we are playing in at the moment.”
Chambers was happy to address the issue of the Portman Road pitch, once recognised as providing one of the best playing surfaces in the country, but criticised by both managers following Town’s goalless draw with Sheffield United on Saturday.
He said: “The pitch is an issue and we’re talking about a pitch in the Championship. I can’t understand how it can be the way it is. That is a frustration for me.
“Even Sheffield United came down here and didn’t really pass the ball around. They’re supposed to be one of the passing teams in the league.
“It’s difficult to play at home at the moment with everything else going on as well as people being frustrated with what’s happening from top to bottom at the club.
“You can obviously feel it as a player when you’re getting booed off at half-time if it’s 0-0.
“It’s difficult to play in that atmosphere but at the end of the day people are coming in, paying a lot of money to be entertained, and we have to take the responsibility and be a bit braver.
“Make the right decision when the ball is up in the air, if you can bring it down to then make a couple of passes to break the lines and hopefully get in behind the opposition.
“In the Cardiff game we put in a good performance and all the boys seemed to be playing with a bit more freedom. If I could put my finger on why it doesn’t happen game in, game out, I’d probably be working as a manager somewhere.
“We want to win games and if it’s not the way that people want us to win games then you can’t really win. But if you are successful by winning games people will come and watch, regardless of whether it’s any good or not.”
The skipper repeated his desire to be a manager in the future but insisted he would not be interested in a role as player-manager, something McCarthy did when he became a boss for the first time at Millwall in 1992, just weeks after his 33rd birthday.
“But Chambers, who will be 33 in September, added: “I’ll never be a player-manager. I don’t think you can do that, not really. I’ve still got lots of time to continue playing, so that’s not something to talk about.”
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