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Lambert: Honest Mistake From Really Top Goalkeeper
Friday, 30th Nov 2018 12:28

Blues boss Paul Lambert says he won’t be switching his keepers for Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, despite Bartosz Bialkowski’s error for Bristol City’s first goal on Wednesday.

Bialkowski was controversially dropped by former manager Paul Hurst earlier in the season 90 minutes prior to the home derby against Norwich City having made a number or mistakes in earlier games.

Lambert says he talked to the 31-year-old at training on Thursday: “I spoke to Bart yesterday and that was an honest mistake from a really top goalkeeper. There’s no blame attached. He tried, I think he just lost his bearings where he was with it, but he also had a really good save in the first half.

“I know the nature of the game, goalkeepers get magnified when they make mistakes and they get praise when they make great saves. They’re in a position where when mistakes happen they do get magnified, but I attach no blame to him at all.”

Lambert says he’s not one to make a hasty change of keepers when they’re going through a tough spell.

“They have to learn,” he continued. “Bart’s in his 30s so he’s not a young kid, he’s an international goalkeeper. He’s been one of the best keepers in the league for a long, long time.

“I’m not going to chastise somebody for what I think is an honest mistake. What happened before [under the previous manager], I can’t control it. His level has been great for us.

“I’ve got two really good goalkeepers here, they’re really neck and neck with each other. The goal was an honest mistake but his level since I’ve been in has been very good.”

He added: “I think goalkeeper is a very hard position because you’ve only got two lads that are competing for it.

“I think when Deano and Bart have been in the team at different times for one reason or another, you can’t keep beating somebody with a stick, take them in and out, you don’t get any consistency with it and you’ve got to try and get through certain periods of your career.

“The biggest compliment I can give the lads is that I’m loving working with them, I really enjoy working with them. I get frustrated when they don’t get wins because they’re playing ever so well. They know that themselves, which is important. But it’s a really good squad to work with and I really enjoy working with them.”

Bialkowski’s defenders, particularly his full-backs, have also come under fire for errors which have led to goals.

How does Lambert, who was frustrated that crosses which led to goals weren’t cut out against Bristol City, feel those mistakes can be cut out? “It comes from individuals. All the coaching in the world [won’t help that], that’s got to come from within and the lads know that. It’s just a basic error, that comes from within a player, an individual player.

“If you do that that’s half the battle. It’s the basics of the game and if you do the basics of the game everything else falls into place. If you don’t master that then it’s a tough gig.”

Lambert, who expressed particular frustration with the Robins’ second goal, dismissed suggestions that some of the goals conceded recently may have been down to his full-backs’ positioning.

“That had nothing to do with it, it was actually shutting somebody down in a one-v-one situation,” he added.

“That’s nothing to do with tactics, that’s nothing to do with positioning, that was stopping a cross from coming into the box and where you should have been, that’s what that is, stop the cross. Stop the source, if the ball doesn’t come into your box they don’t score.”

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ArnieM added 12:46 - Nov 30
That’s him keeping his place then!

jayessess added 12:50 - Nov 30
think we'll be sticking with the back 5 for the foreseeable future in the hope that it clicks...

TractorCam added 13:06 - Nov 30
Yes ArnieM, he says that in the article. Literally the very first line!

TheTrueBlue1878 added 13:28 - Nov 30
Rightly so, best keeper we’ve got. Dip in form but only previously mistake was Sheff Wed. Honest mistake, happens in football, he’s still the best keeper we have.

jayessess added 13:32 - Nov 30
Statistically speaking, Bart is currently the worst first-choice goalkeeper in the Championship.

His save percentage is 46%. That is, any given shot on target is more likely to end up going in than not. Only Milwall's Ben Amos (51%) is even in the same ball park, the next worst Preston's Declan Rudd is on 61%. (FWIW Gerken is lower mid table on 66%)

He's second only to Daniel Bentley (Brentford) on errors directly leading to goals with 3.

Last season he was 5th on save percentages, with 78%, and made just 1 error leading directly to a goal.

brendenward35 added 13:52 - Nov 30
listened to talk sport this morning and one of the comments was, if your goalkeeper gets player of the season then something is seriously wrong with your defense. Think Bart has been this last two seasons so the warnings are there been an issue for years at this club.

martin587 added 14:32 - Nov 30
I don’t think the four players in front of him have helped,do you.?

jayessess added 14:51 - Nov 30
The players in front of him affect the numbers of shots he faces not whether he saves them. He's faced 14 shots in the past 4 games, conceding 8. A statistically average goalkeeper would expect to concede 4-5. And it's not like the goals themselves don't back that up, of those 8 only West Brom's 1st, Reading's 2nd and Bristol City's 3rd are finishes that you'd be shocked to see a Championship keeper save.

d77sgw added 15:25 - Nov 30
That’s decent analysis. Obviously stats CAN be misleading, but this does fit with what we as fans have observed - he is just way, way off the level of last year. What I don’t get is why? Clearly there has been some stuff behind the scenes that maybe caused his head to drop but it’s not like goalkeeping is a matter of ‘effort’. Perhaps confidence - is he missing the former goalkeeping coach more than we realised? Is it the defence in front of him? Evans would have been crucified if he’d let him go for £2m in the summer- we’d bite someone’s arm off for half that now.

jayessess added 15:59 - Nov 30
good news is, if Bart was back at last year's level we'd probably have won 2-3 of our last 4 and would be moving up the table. So do that and we're halfway there!

44_not_out added 18:39 - Nov 30
starting a comment with 'listening to talk sport'......... i won't bother reading the rest!

clint_eastwood added 05:55 - Dec 1
His form has been a bit down lately. But hey,....he's still a top goalie! David de Gea of the Championship!

blueboy1981 added 12:47 - Dec 1
Bart' has slipped a bit - but only goes to show how much he has been relied on to keep scores down over previous seasons - and still is.

Just shows how much over expectancy has been placed on him - he has had an ongoing nightmare of a defence in front of him for far, far, too long.

Quite simply he has been expected to be the super saving hero all too often.

runningout added 19:59 - Dec 2
Doesn’t help defence that our Midfield is so redundant

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