Lambert Expects to Stay With Town Whatever Happens This Season
Thursday, 6th Dec 2018 16:57
Town manager Paul Lambert says he expects to remain with the Blues regardless of what happens this season having settled in well at what he describes as a “brilliant football club” which he is confident will see a change in fortune going forward.
“Absolutely I do,” he said when asked whether he sees his time at Portman Road as a long-term project, having signed a contract until 2021 when he was appointed in late October.
“I can say all the right things to you [the media] but I know how football works. I never think everybody’s secure, when you do that you end up becoming complacent, so I never hang my hat on anything.
“But I feel really comfortable here with everybody, with the owner, with the football club itself, the people who work at the football club, the people at Portman Road, the fans.
“What I do sense is people are wanting the club to do well. There’s not people going behind people’s backs or anything like that, we just have to pull it together.
“Having one team in this town is incredible. This should be absolutely rocking this place at every turn, but I feel the sense of direction is going the right way, we’ve had to turn that around a little bit but we need the supporters, they’ve been brilliant.
“The fans have been great with me since I’ve been here. As I’ve said before, you have a bit of trepidation when you come because I left their rivals as such. But I never had any fear of it because I knew if I could turn it around then everything would be forgotten. The supporters here have been brilliant with me.”
He added: “I think I’ve been in the game too long to say anything’s long-term. You might have great intentions to stay long-term but nobody ever knows what’s round the corner.
“But I love it here, I really do. I think it’s a brilliant football club and I’m looking forward to everything that goes with it. One thing’s for sure, we're getting better as a team, without a doubt.
“We’re getting better as a football club as a whole and I think the fanbase, we’re turning that around as well, just starting to get going with it. If we get a bit of help and we make this place what I think it can be it can be brilliant.”
The 49-year-old says he’s keen to put down roots at a club with his last three jobs - Blackburn, Wolves and Saturday’s opponents Stoke - each having lasted less than a year.
“I get sick of moving house I think, I can’t afford it any more,” he laughed. “I’m really comfortable here, I really love it, I love the way the football club is structured at the minute. OK, we’ve probably put things in place ourselves from it.
“I’m not saying my way is right but it’s my way. What I will do, right or wrong, I’ll do what I think is right for Ipswich, not for me, not for the staff, for Ipswich Town Football Club, that’s the most important thing. Not for any individual but for the football club and the supporters. I’ll do exactly what I think is right.”
At the end of Tuesday’s sometimes frosty PLC AGM Lambert said he could feel that there was animosity towards the club from some shareholders, something he wanted put aside as the club fights a tough battle against relegation.
“You can sense it,” he said. “As I said, we need everybody to go one way, I think that’s important. You can feel the little bit of animosity towards everything but that’s what happens at football clubs when fans don’t think it’s going right.
“But you’ve got to give fans a lot of credit because they keep coming and coming and coming. It’s their club as well, they’re every bit as important as everybody else and as a football club we have to unite it together because there’s only one team in the town and if you get that backing behind you, this could be a really brilliant place to be.”
Was the AGM an eye-opener, showing him a side of the club’s situation he wasn’t previously aware of? “You can sense it but what a club it is, it’s absolutely brilliant, it really is and it’ll turn, without a doubt it’ll turn.
“They need a little bit of help but one thing I do sense is that everything is going in the same direction and if you stay on this path this will turn and once this turns then I’m pretty sure a lot of people will have the last laugh at it, that’s for sure, because I think everybody will be onside with it and I think the way it’s going at the minute, we need the supporters.
“But I understand the frustrations of it, I understand the questions asked but the most important thing for me is that everybody’s behind us. That’s the most important thing.
“Even though we’re at the bottom of the table, you wouldn’t think that from the reaction on the training ground and in the stadium because we’ve deserved more than we’ve got. But once this turns, this will be brilliant this.”
Asked if it is tough to maintain an upbeat atmosphere despite the Blues’ position and a lack of a win in his first five games in charge, he said: “I never get down, never, anybody that knows me will say the same. I never let the place go down or be downbeat.
“I think we’ve deserved more in games without a doubt. I thought we should have got more at Reading, we were excellent in the first half, I thought we could have been three or four up.
“Bristol City, we should never have drawn it, let along lost it, we should never have lost it. Preston I thought we were the best team up until the end.
“The one we probably we didn’t deserve [anything from] was Nottingham Forest. We started well but after we lost the early goal we never really got a foothold in it. I made a few changes in it.
“But the lads are playing well and that’s the thing. As long as we keep playing well, things will turn, we’ll never let the place go down.”
Not many teams have ever survived from the type of position Town are in now but Lambert believes it is possible the Blues can pull off one of the greatest of escapes.
“Absolutely, because there’s not much in it,” insisted. “You can go on a run in this league and you turn everything around really quickly, you can win two and catapult out of it, you can lose two and go back in it and everybody knows that’s the nature of the Championship.
“We’re in a fight, that’s for sure, but at least we’re in the fight. Before we came in I couldn’t see the fight, now it’s a bit different.”
Meanwhile, he says he wasn’t aware that several of his squad were sat in the away end at Forest last week, something welcomed by fans at the City Ground.
Previous managers, including Jim Magilton, have on occasion encouraged non-playing members of their squads to join fans to watch away games to help foster a bond between team and supporters.
“Did they? You’re telling me something I don’t know,” Lambert said with a lack of seats elsewhere apparently the reason the non-playing members of the squad joined fans on that occasion.
“But that’s a big thing we’ve got in our favour, the supporters have been brilliant and I think they appreciate we’re trying to do things.
“I said before you’ve got to bring supporters close to the football club. There will be certain days here when I’ll open training for them to come and watch, I’ll certainly get round to doing that so they can see players in this environment as well and see training at certain times. I think it’s important that we make it a lot closer than it has been.”
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