|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Preston North End|
Saturday, 3rd November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: I Couldn’t Have Asked Any More of Them, They Gave Us Everything
Saturday, 3rd Nov 2018 18:18
Manager Paul Lambert said he couldn’t have asked any more of his team as they drew 1-1 at home to Preston in their first game in charge of the Blues. Freddie Sears put Town in front from the spot just before half-time but Paul Gallagher levelled for the Lancastrians on 73 and then ended up in goal after his side’s keeper Chris Maxwell was sent off two minutes later.
“Brilliant. It’s great, loved it, loved the atmosphere and I thought we were the better team,” Lambert said.
“I thought we started really well and couldn’t ask any more, they gave us absolutely everything.”
Lambert was philosophical that the performance didn’t produce the win he felt it deserved: “That happens at times, that’s football, that’s why it’s a great game. Sometimes results go for you if don’t play well, sometimes you play well and they don’t.
“I was proud of them the way they played, they were fantastic. I always say that the big thing for me is the reaction of the supporters, if you can get the crowd going.
“I’m pretty sure if you asked the majority, OK we wanted to win, but I’m pretty sure it’s more exciting than it’s been for a while here.”
The Blues are now five points off the three teams above them but Lambert believes the wins will come if performances remain at today’s level.
“A million per cent,” he insisted. “If they’d been playing like that since the start of the season I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you, that’s the reality of it.
“The performance, OK, we never got the winner, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying, that’s for sure. We gave a helluva account of ourselves.”
Regarding Preston’s freekick goal, he said: “I’ve not seen it back but Paul Gallagher’s been renown for his set plays, he’s really, really good. I haven’t seen it back.
“Bart’s had one save to make in the first half. From where I was standing it looked a good freekick, I couldn’t see how far away the wall was or Bart, but no blame attached to anybody whatsoever. Gallagher’s very good at set plays.”
Jordan Roberts was handed his first Blues start as Town’s central striker, a surprise pick for most observers.
“I just picked him because I thought we needed maybe a focal point up front and I thought the lad was unbelievable for coming in for his first game,” Lambert said. “I thought he was outstanding.
“But not just him, the front three lads, they pressed the way I asked them to press. Not just that, the whole team, the whole unit, you could sense the atmosphere in the place was great. But Jordan, I think everybody knows that he was very, very good.”
Lambert also gave Flynn Downes the responsibility of taking Town’s set pieces, the 19-year-old having caught his eye during training this week.
“Good player, very good young kid,” he said. “A huge future ahead of him, I think. He’s got a long, long way ahead of him, he’s got another 25 years in the game. We’ll see if he can keep doing that for the next 25 years.”
Overall he says he’s been pleased with what he’s seen of squad this week: “I’ve been here since Sunday and I couldn’t ask any more, the way they’ve trained, the way they’ve applied themselves, the way they’ve gone about their job.
“There’s so much information we’ve given them to take on board and we’ve only had a few days with them.
“Your best part of your season is your pre-season but we’ve come in in November, so there’s a lot of work but as I’ve said before I want them to enjoy it and I’m pretty sure if you ask any of the lads they enjoyed today’s game.”
Asked about next week’s big game at Reading, he added: “And you’ll probably ask me that the following Saturday and then the following one. They’ll all be big games, every one. I’d rather have that than not have a big game.”
Quizzed on whether he takes too much notice of the table in the current circumstances, he said: “I’ll just look at one game at a time and will bounce along with it. I’ll never be downbeat, I’ll keep going.
“The most important thing is this football club and the supporters and the team. If I can get them going, you heard the atmosphere yourselves today, you probably come here more than not and probably go away thinking there’s not much of an atmosphere but I don’t think anyone could question that this afternoon.”
He added: “I think I said it the other day, I watched the Middlesbrough game here the other day and saw the team lose and the fans never even booed. I think there was an apathy there.
“You need to kickstart it, you have to start somewhere. You have to stop that apathy and whatever happens outside when they come in here, the kids, the mums, the dads, the supporters, enjoy it and we have to give you something to enjoy.
“We need them, we need the team, we need the fans to get behind us and if they see performances like that they’ll go with it and I think that’s important.”
Alex Neil says Preston’s games are never boring at present: “It’s never dull at the moment for us, most games we’re involved in are a 4-3 or 3-2 or there’s some sort of incident within the game.
“I think the most important thing for us to be talking about is how we played defensively, something we’ve spoken about that we’ve not done that well this year.
“But I felt today Ipswich had one shot at goal other than the penalty which Paul Gallagher saved when we were down to 10 men. Other than that they didn’t have another opportunity to score.
“I thought we defended really well, I thought what we lacked, certainly in the first half, was that cutting edge at the top end.
“We had three or four really good opportunities for break aways and our use of the ball let us down.”
Regarding the penalty, he said: “I’ve watched it back and when you watch it back and you slow it down it looks as if Chris Maxwell’s the one that kicks the ball, but what I said to Maxy is that the trajectory of the ball looks as if it’s the player’s the one who is running on to it.
“So, it’s a difficult one, he’s taken a heavy touch, the lad’s gambled on it and tried to nick it.
“I felt that the linesman immediately was running down the line with his flag up. I think when you look at it back in real time it’s always difficult to say. If you look at it back it didn’t look as blatant as maybe it appeared.”
Reflecting on the match overall, he added: “It was always going to be a tough game. It was Paul’s first game, he was always going to get his team up and in your face and try and lock-on and make it difficult, turn the ball, play for second balls, get the wide players rolling in and ultimately you need to win that fight and that battle.
“I thought both teams were a little bit scrappy. I don’t think there was a huge amount of football played in the first half. I thought it would be sporadic, bits of it would burst out, maybe a couple of passing sequences.
“But to be honest I don’t think there was anything in the first half. I don’t think we created much, I don’t think they created much and then we gave the penalty away at the worst possible time. That was a bit of a kick in the teeth for us.”
He added: “I thought we should have won the game, we had a freekick right across the box, I think Tom Clarke maybe should have done a little bit better and for me Lukas Nmencha had the best opportunity of the game.
“I didn’t feel when we were down to 10 men that they had any ascendency. They had one shot from a corner which Gally saved, but other than that we looked the most threatening we did throughout the game.”
Regarding Maxwell’s second yellow card, he said: “I’ll have to look at it back because it was way over the other side of the pitch.
“I think after the game, we’re relieved that we didn’t lose it because we were down to 10 men with no goalie on the pitch and I think they tried to play as many minutes as they could until Ipswich scored.
“That elongated the game for about 30 minutes towards the end. After that we were relieved that we didn’t lose but a bit frustrated that we didn’t win with the opportunities that we had.
“That [the second yellow card] is something we’ll have a look at. Max is disappointed, he’s apologised to his team-mates for affecting the game in a negative manner. As far as we’re concerned, we’re a team and the lads then need to dig him out, and they did that.”
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