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Stoke City 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 8th December 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: We’re Not Far From Being a Right Top Side
Saturday, 8th Dec 2018 18:09

Boss Paul Lambert felt Town were the better team despite losing 2-0 at Stoke City and believes the Blues aren't far from being a “right top side” with new recruits set to be added during the January transfer window.

“I thought we were the better team, I really did,” he said. “Honestly, I’ve just said to them in there that I’m really proud of them, how we came here and dominated the game against a team that I think shouldn’t be far away from going up.

“There were two moments that hurt us but I’ve got a really young side but every one of the lads were brilliant. The way we came here and played with the ball was excellent.”

Town recorded more shots and more corners than Stoke and Lambert says there were plenty of positives to be taken from the display.

“I couldn’t ask any more than the way we came here and played,” he added. “If you look at Jack Lankester, Jack’s 18, Trevoh’s 19, Flynn’s 19, Andre’s 19, it’s not normal this situation.

“We certainly don’t look like a team that’s bottom of the table, but the result is the way it is, but performance-wise I thought we were excellent, really, really good.”

In recent weeks, defensive errors had been Town’s downfall but this time it was Stoke’s quality in and around the area which led to their goals.

“Joe Allen’s made a career out of it and he’s a terrific lad Joe, a really top player,” Lambert continued.

“Jack’s got beaten with the one-two. Jack’s only 18, so he’ll learn his game but I think Lankester is going to be a top, top player without a shadow of a doubt.

“He’s one of the best young ones I’ve seen in a long while and I think he’s going to be a really good one, but he got beaten by the one-two and Joe’s done it all his career.”

He says he believes Lankester has a big future ahead of him: “Absolutely I do, if he keeps his feet on the ground and he doesn’t get distracted, I think he’s going to be one helluva player, that’s for sure.”

Regarding dropping keeper Bartosz Bialkowski after his two errors in the last two games, he admitted it was a difficult decision to make.

“Really tough but I think mentally and physically needed a break from it,” the Blues boss said. “He’s hardly had a break since the World Cup and I think it was important to look after him as well. He’ll comeback stronger than ever.

“We had a chat yesterday and he was really professional with everything, no problem. Probably disappointed and it was a hard one but I just thought mentally and physically it was probably the right decision.

“Deano came in and did very, very well. Never really had many saves. But, as I said, the whole team, I can’t ask any more from the team.

“See the supporters, the supporters are right behind it. We need a little bit of help in January, when that comes in we’re going to be a right good side.”

He added: “I think the supporters can see how well we’re playing. I think that’s always your barometer of how well you’re playing and they’re right behind it.

“Honestly, we’re so close to being right top side. I know we need a little bit of help, I get all that, but we’re not far from being a right top side.”

Asked whether he’s concerned that the gap to safety is now eight points plus goal difference, he said: “I know the league. If you go on a little run and you catapult out of it. Where there’s all that light and hope we’ll always keep going because that’s our job.

“We certainly don’t look like a team at the bottom. This is not a normal situation. I’ve never experienced, the way we’re playing, it certainly doesn’t look like that. But no, we keep going, go to the next one and we’ll go and try and win that.”

Lambert was back at Stoke for the first time since leaving them in May after a short spell in charge during the second half of last season.

“I loved my time here,” he reflected when asked how he felt on his return. “It’s a brilliant club, great fanbase behind it, it was really from the supporters and even the lads, a lot of the lads as well, which was really kind.

“It’s a club that will always remain close because I had a really great time. We were that close, we were a penalty away from maybe staying up and Jack Butland [scored an own goal] at Leicester, he was brilliant for me. West Ham, I could throw a lot at you, Anfield, Ryan Shawcross had the chance at the back, little moments like that and we’d have stayed in the league.”

Stoke manager Gary Rowett was pleased with the win but not his team's performance and echoing comments made by a number of opposition bosses in recent weeks, said he doesn't expect the Blues to be bottom of the table for too long if they play as they did today.

“It was a good result, I think the positives are a clean sheet and two goals of really good quality," he said.

"Both the goals were excellent quality, probably the only quality that was shown for the majority of the game, but really good quality.

“And we’ve won a game that puts our recent run of form and run of points in a much better light, which we knew it would do today.

“What I have to say is that we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we need to. We didn’t show enough energy and enough composure and quality at times to really put the game to bed.

“I thought Ipswich were spirited, I thought Ipswich came and performed really well for Paul and you have to say if they keep playing like that then they’re certainly not going to be bottom of the league for long and with the run of form they’re in.

“But we have to be better and our standards have to be better than that. So, very pleased with the result, very pleased with won the game but disappointed with a lot of aspects of our play.

“We looked a bit leggy today and I’m not sure why, we’ll have to have a look at it. We certainly didn’t look as though we had the same zip about us or the same energy at times.”

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martin587 added 18:13 - Dec 8
Well said Paul,I Totally agree.A win is just round the corner. The young lads were a real credit today.

SickParrot added 18:17 - Dec 8
Looks like we will be too far behind by January to achieve safety. Just hope that ME allows PL to start building for a league 1 promotion push. Lambert has been brilliant. It's not his fault that he has so little to work with. Please stay Paul, we need you.

Mark added 18:18 - Dec 8
I love it that Lambert stays so positive, and credit to the young lads playing well. They are our future and need game time to progress.

Onto the results though, I think mentally accepting relegation last weekend however helped me cope with yet another Saturday when Ipswich lose and Norwich win (typical late goal). The season is playing out like a nightmare which gets worse week by week.

hyperbrit added 18:20 - Dec 8
....the darkest part of the night is just before the dawn!!

Blue_Moses added 18:36 - Dec 8
Wish I had his confidence

BudapestByBlimp added 18:46 - Dec 8
@Hyperbrit - not sure about that - thought it was equidistant between twilight and dawn ;-)

BlueandTruesince82 added 18:56 - Dec 8

JCBLUE added 18:58 - Dec 8
PL 👏👏👏

I think we will escape, points will flow soon .....

Lightningboy added 19:06 - Dec 8
We’ve just got to hang on in there and hopefully pick up a few points from somewhere before January...we’ve been unlucky this season no doubt and I think the table does lie in this instance.

I for one will never forgive that utter clown Hurst for what he did to our football club last summer.

Absolute tw@t.

CraigEdwards added 19:11 - Dec 8
We just need a bit of luck and that win will come. The next two home games are the biggest in the club's history . As Paul say I still believe that we are not far behind at least getting ourselves out of the bottom three. The club has a great bunch of youngsters coming though. Still hopeful

TimmyH added 19:14 - Dec 8
Well he's talking the talk...might need the cavalry in January to walk the walk.

Woodbridgian added 19:19 - Dec 8
If this was 10 games into the season with the way we’re now playing then maybe we’d be ok but with 1 win and 11 points from 21 games we’re in deep deep trouble. The damage done by Hurst might be just too much to recover from. Agree the next 2 home games are massive if and it’s a huge if we could win both the maybe just maybe but even then we’re going to need league winning form in the second half of the season and just can’t see it I’m afraid. B

Saxonblue74 added 19:26 - Dec 8
Can't continue with performances like that without picking up points soon. PL carries the same weight and respect within the game that MM has so expect decent signings in Jan. We'll see that even the weaker members of the squad will improve along with results once the squad is strengthened.

grinch added 19:27 - Dec 8
Well played today but if we get beat when we are the better team that is relegation flip side is when you don't play well and win like stoke that is promotion form. Let's build for next season right this one off as a bad in. Save the money in Jan as we have gone and give him the cash in the summer to build a promotion winning team please don't get loans in during Jan bring back our youngsters and let's have a plan for next season

midastouch added 19:30 - Dec 8
with a bit more cutting edge and less lapses at the back we're not as bad as we might think. been a woeful season and can't see us pulling off the great escape but we may as well pray for a miracle until it's mathematically impossible. not going to grumble about the overall effort today. those lot down the road are really putting us to shame but they aren't guaranteed automatic promotion just yet by any means. fair play to naaaaridge though, they have turned their season around in incredible fashion, can't argue with that. but still obviously praying the wheels fall off the bus after xmas and that we find ours again to give ourselves a fighting chance of being in the same league as them next season, it seems unlikely but stranger things have happened in football before!

Saxonblue74 added 19:43 - Dec 8
Grinch, too early to write off a season and certainly too early to play our promising 18 year olds week in,week out. Why do people not see we have to go all out to retain championship status? Relegation could be seriously damaging to our club in the long term.

Carberry added 20:01 - Dec 8
I know he has to keep everyone's spirits up, including ours but this is wearing just a little bit thin. With a little bit of help in January we will be a really top side and we are already looking really, really good. We are rock bottom almost double figures adrift. I don't see it myself, every loss means a little bit more confidence drains away. This is deep you know what not the rosy picture PL keeps painting. Let's temper the situation with a little bit of reality.

GFH added 20:12 - Dec 8
I really do believe we will escape the drop and for people to keep saying we are already down obviously don't know basic maths. We are far from relegated, OK I know our position is not good but if we give up supporting positively then there is no point in supporting at all. A massive well done to the travelling supporters you done the club proud.

runaround added 20:20 - Dec 8
I really love the positive thoughts and comments that come from Paul Lambert. I think as a club we are very lucky to have him. I strongly believe that he will get the best out of what he has available but I fear it won’t be enough to keep us up. However I do believe as long as he stays it gives us the best chance of coming straight back up.
He is being brave as are the players all standing up to be counted despite their limitations. As fans we also need to be brave supporting the club in our numbers being loud and proud during matches. Also more importantly Marcus Evans needs to be brave by backing the club financially to give it the best chance of survival this season or at worst promotion back to it next season

grinch added 20:37 - Dec 8
Saxon blue don't want relegation but a realist as it's the 4th spot safety and don't think that is doable so plan now for next season so that we can bounce back with a plan rather than wishful thinking it will be difficult but blood the youngsters correctly and there are enough not to play them week in week out and then next season we can see them improve again planning us better than not I think and yes I think we have to much to do this season so let's use this time

Dissboyitfc added 20:47 - Dec 8
I love PL’s positivity and enthusiasm but the truth is no top side would have Spence or Knudsen in it. Onto next Saturday now.

Last season Bolton stayed up with 43 points so if that’s anywhere near the same for this season, we need 30 odd points from a possible 75, it’s still doable,just need a little run.

Just trying to remain positive folks!

herfie added 20:50 - Dec 8
Oh how we’re desperate to embrace PL’s enthusiasm and optimism, and to accept his belief that we’re not too far off becoming a good side - and will survive in the C’ship. No question he’s a top man, who has bought into every aspect of the club, can see many of it’s historic deficiencies and is determined to bring about positive change.

But, as we know too well, he’s hamstrung by the cumulative impact of 11 years’ under ME’s ownership. That this could -will? - almost certainly result in relegation: if so, how will Evans view this as his legacy as owner? It would represent a monumental failure of his stewardship, and stand as testament to his abject ability to run a professional club. Against this background, and logically against the odds, if PL does achieve the miracle, and thereby saves ME’s backside, then our faceless owner will be forever in his debt. Come January.........debt repayment must start!

Dissboyitfc added 21:03 - Dec 8
30 plus points from 25 games is not league winning form by any stretch of the imagination, it’s doable, tough but not impossible!

Northstandveteran added 22:07 - Dec 8

You can fool all the people some of the time,
And some of the people all the time,
But you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Abraham Lincoln said that Mr Lambert.

Having said that, what did he know about managing a football club?!

Northstandveteran added 22:08 - Dec 8
Probably slightly more than Hurst and Evans now I've had 5 seconds to ponder that question.

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