Lambert: We’ll Be in the Fight, Absolutely No Doubt About That
Saturday, 1st Dec 2018 18:30
Boss Paul Lambert insisted that Town will be a seven-team fight to avoid the drop, despite being seven points off safety following their 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Lambert felt the Blues began the game well prior to Lewis Grabban’s first goal, which came after keeper Bartosz Bialkowski had failed to hold Tendayi Darikwa’s shot.
“We started really well and obviously the first goal came from a lad you probably wouldn’t have thought would make a mistake in Bart,” he said. “I thought it was from distance with no great power and obviously it’s come away from him.
“That’s put us on the back foot and that’s given Nottingham Forest an impetus given the home crowd.
“But the second half we made a fist of it when we could have capitulated. All credit to the team, they’re really young and we’ve got a lot of lads who have been brought to the football club and it’s their first time playing in this division a lot of them.
“[Some of the] young players just needed a break from it but if we can stay in the fight I think we’re in about a seven-team league at the minute. We need a little bit of help in January and let’s see what happens from now on in.”
It was the second time in two games Bialkowski, the Blues’ player of the year for the last three seasons, has made a costly error but Lambert backed the Polish international.
“I think he’s a brilliant goalkeeper and a terrific lad and mistakes happen,” he said. “That’s the nature of football.
“It won’t be his first mistake, it won’t be his last, but he’s a really top goalkeeper and it would be wrong for me to say anything.
“He’s been excellent since I’ve been here. OK, mistakes happen but I’m fortunate that this football club’s got two really good goalkeepers.”
Kayden Jackson had chances in the first half with his header from Grant Ward’s cross the best of them.
“He did great to get across with the header, I thought he maybe should have hit the target, but Kayden hasn’t played too much football,” Lambert reflected.
“I gave Jordan Roberts a rest from it, I gave the two kids in the middle of the pitch [Trevoh Chalobah and Flynn Downes] a rest from it because they haven’t had a break from football at all. Gwion [Edwards] had a bit of a sore ankle so we had to watch him as well.
“In the second half, we made a game of it and the crowd were brilliant again. You’re feeling sorry for them because they come in their numbers to watch us. We need everyone at the football club to stay together.”
Is he concerned by the lack of clean sheets, the Blues’ only one this season having come in the 0-0 draw with Bolton.
“I think that’s important but you can’t just blame defenders and the goalkeeper, that’s a collective thing that is. [You can’t] give away sloppy goals, especially against teams of the calibre of Nottingham Forest, they’re a really good side, they’ve invested really well. We have to get ourselves out of the position.”
The Blues boss dismissed suggestions that confidence is a problem: “Do you know what? It’s not. That’s the beauty about it, the lads have been great. There’s a really good spirit of the club and anybody that knows me knows that I’ll never let that go.”
Is it harder to get a win the longer the current winless run - which is now up to seven, including Lambert’s five in charge - continues?
“It can be,” he admitted. “Winning’s contagious, it’s like a bug. When you win and you keep on doing it it doesn’t matter what environment you come to, that’s the beauty about being a footballer. If you get the winning feeling it’s a great feeling.
“But we’re developing, we’re a really a young side. I’d love to know how many in the Championship have got a many young players as we’ve got and plus there are a helluva load of lads who have come from the other leagues. But that’s the nature of the game, but they’re my team and we’ll stick by them.”
Town have another tough game next week away against Stoke, who were relegated last season with Lambert in charge for their final months in the Premier League.
“Absolutely, Stoke a club I know really well, a really good club. Great owners, everything about it was great. But we’ll go there to try and win. I won’t change,” he insisted.
“We’ve got a free week because there’s no midweek game and we’ll go there to try and win.”
Regarding Jack Lankester, who made his full debut, he added: “I think he did well. You never know until they jump in the water whether they’ll sink or swim and that’s great for the club.
“I think he’s going to have a big, big impact in his career and that’ll stand him in good stead, it’ll just show him what it’s like to be a professional footballer.”
Teddy Bishop made his first start since Boxing Day and Lambert was pleased with the 22-year-old display, believing he got better the longer he was on the field.
“He got his second wind. Again, another kid that’s been out a long time injured and it’s just getting a feel of it again.
“There are loads of positives. We never capitulated in the second half and the support at the end was very welcome.”
Lambert has praise for skipper Luke Chambers, who was making his 330th appearance for the club.
“Brilliant, you don’t get many [who do that] but take away the footballer aspect of Luke Chambers, I think as a person he’s top class, he’s a credit to the club, himself and his family.”
Lambert dismissed the idea that the gap, which is now up to seven but could increased to nine if Millwall win at Bristol City tomorrow, is getting too large to bridge.
“I still think it’s a seven-team league at the bottom,” he insisted. “We need a little bit of help in January, I think everybody recognises that. But you never, ever give up and there’s a helluva long way to go.
“We’ll be in the fight, absolutely no doubt about that. We’ll be in the fight because we’ll get better, we are getting better, we just need a little bit more in certain positions in the team.”
Will the owner back him in January or might that depend on how likely survival is at that point? “No, I think Marcus knows this now, he’s a clever guy, he knows this now, he’s been brilliant since I’ve been at the club. We need a little bit of help and everybody recognises that and I don’t have any problem with that.”
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