Lambert: As Good a First Half as I've Seen
Saturday, 10th Nov 2018 18:11
Manager Paul Lambert felt the Blues’ display before the break in the 2-2 draw at Reading was as good a first-half display as he’s seen from any of his teams.
“I’ve managed some really good teams and players, I really have in my time in management,” Lambert said.
“And that’s as good a first half as I’ve seen. My God, we were fantastic, we looked great and I think we should have been three or four goals to the good.
“That never materialised but the strides that we’ve made as a football team have been huge.
“I’m proud of them the way they’ve performed, they’ve given me everything in the time I’ve been here and I think it’s plain for everybody to see that we’ve got a good side. It needs a little bit of help but you can just it by the support as well and we’re a club moving the right way.”
Regarding the second half, he added: “I thought we looked dangerous on the counter. Reading, you expect to have a bit of the ball, they’re the home team, you’re not going to dominate a game for 90 minutes.
“They had little moments but I didn’t think too many threatening moments. I was quite comfortable.
“We lost a poor goal, I think we were sloppy on that. The ball should never have travelled 60 yards without us dealing with it and we got caught. Jonas maybe should have tucked in but Jonas’s performance was incredibly high.
“We just maybe lacked that domination we had in the first half but we were still dangerous on the counter. But overall, I can’t ask for any more.”
Does he believe there’s a lack of belief in the team in those circumstances given the season they’ve had up to now? “I really don’t know. I’ve not seen it. Maybe because they’ve been beaten from pillar to post, but that’s a different team that I saw a few weeks ago and I think everyone will recognise that. The level I’m asking them to play at has been incredible. Fantastic.”
Despite playing well in both his games in charge Town have picked up only two points but Lambert preferred to concentrate on the progress which has been made during his short time in charge.
“I wasn’t here 15 games ago, 16 games ago, the damage was there before,” he reflected. “What we’ve got is a team fighting and a crowd massively with it.
“So I always look at the positive, it is what it is, but we are playing at a really high level at the minute and you can see the crowd are right with it.
“You’ve probably seen more than I’ve seen, I can’t judge what happened before and where the club was going but what I do see is a group of guys and a football club going the right way.
“We’ll win games if we keep playing like that. One hundred per cent we’ll win games, that’s for sure. We keep doing that we’ll get out of that zone we’re in.”
Lambert says he’ll be giving the players some time off during the international break: “We’ve trained incredibly hard over the last 11 or 12 days that I’ve been in here. As a wise manager once said to me, ‘A rest is as good as training’. You need a break as well, they’ll get their time with their families, which I think is important.
“They’ll certainly do that and then we’ll come back and we’ll be ready for the West Brom game. Some lads will go with their international teams but the level of the performance, fantastic. Honestly, really, really proud of them and we did everything to try and win.”
Has he been surprised by how well the team has performed since he arrived? “I can only go with my own eyes since I’ve been here. It’s not surprise because I’d never prejudge it before, but everybody comments on it that the level is extremely high and the difference in the team is different.
“I can only see what I see in the short term I’ve been here. That’s a group of guys going every single week, a fantastic work rate, trying to do the right things. They’ll make mistakes, that’s absolutely no problem, but play my way and you’ll be totally fine.
“If you play my way and the mistakes happen, it’s my fault, it’s not theirs. I’m asking them to play that way and they’ve done everything to try and get us wins.”
Reading boss Paul Clement felt a draw was the right result despite being far from impressed with his team in the first half.
“I think so, based on the performances of the two teams," he said. "In the first half, we were bad, really, really bad and I was worried, absolutely. Because of the context of the season.
“We were in the relegation zone at the start of play against another team in the relegation zone and it looked like only one team was in the relegation zone and that was Ipswich.
“They were fighting, running, their spirit was great, they played some good football and we were like a rabbit in the headlights, we didn’t know what to do.
“I think we were fortunate at half-time to come in with the scoreline only at 2-1, it could have been 3-1, could have been 4-1 based on the way we were playing and the errors we were making and the way our backline started the game.
“I find it very difficult to explain why that was because the messages all week, whether it was directly with the players or through you guys [the media] has been, ‘This is going to be a very, very tough game’ and I don’t know why we played like that in the first half.
“You can say it as much as you want but if it’s not maybe at the conscious level but at the subconscious level that it’s not quite right, that you think, ‘We’re playing the team that’s bottom of the table, we’ve got a great chance to win the game’. But it doesn’t work out like that.
“So, we were very poor in the first half, really poor. In the second half I think the players reacted well to what I said and played with the right spirit.
“The football wasn’t perfect but certainly gave us the foundation to go and pin Ipswich back a little bit and I think we finished the stronger team. We deserved to at least draw the game and at the end we’ve had the better chances.”
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