Lambert: Derby Atmosphere Can Sometimes Get the Better of You
Thursday, 7th Feb 2019 18:28
Blues boss Paul Lambert says a derby atmosphere can get the better of anyone, even himself recalling a clash with one of his best friends during an Old Firm fixture.
Questioned on whether he, as a manager, rises above the derby maelstrom, he reflected on an incident from a September 2001 encounter at Ibrox when he was a Celtic player facing Rangers, a game his team eventually won 2-0.
“Do I rise above it? I used to think that, until I started fighting with [his former Borussia Dortmund team-mate] Stefan Klos one day in a Rangers-Celtic game. And he was one of my best mates," he recollected.
“So, did I rise above it? No, I probably went over the top with him, and he was one of my mates, but in the emotion of the derby, me and him started fighting. And we spoke after the game, I think sometimes it gets the better of you at certain times.”
He says he’ll try to make sure his players keep a lid on their emotions going into the match.
“Yes, but I don’t want to be a soft touch,” he said. “I don’t want to go there and say, ‘OK, you have the ball’ and we sit back and let things happen.
“No, we go there with controlled aggression, enthusiasm, tempo. Everything you associate with football, we have to have it.
“If we don’t have it it’ll be a hard time. If we have that, we’ll be in the game. I won’t curtail anybody, as long as they’re ready to come out of the tunnel and come out and fight.
“I can’t do anything to influence the result, but you can influence what type of mood everybody goes out in.”
He added: “You need big players in derbies, that’s for sure. You need people to be emotionally really good and not make any rash challenges, which can happen. But that’s the nature of the game. I can’t wait.”
Is he confident his youngsters will cope, with the Blues almost certain to have a number of inexperienced players in the 18 at Carrow Road.
“Last weekend we had five lads from the academy in our squad, an incredible turnover, which is brilliant for the club. It’s a great thing for the football club to have,” he said.
“The young lads are in there on merit, they’re good players and I don’t have any problem with whoever plays. It doesn’t faze me one bit to throw them in.”
Flynn Downes was close to being shown a red card in the FA Cup tie at Accrington after reacting to being flicked in the face by Stanley midfielder Sam Finley.
“I don’t want to curtail his temperament because I think it’s a great thing for any footballer to have, he’s got that devilment in him and I’m not going to take it away from him,” Lambert said when asked about how he felt the 20-year-old would cope with the atmosphere on Sunday.
“I want him to have it, to be a top, top player you have to have that devilment in you and I think Flynn Downes is going to be one helluva player, that’s for sure.
“He’s doing really well for us at the minute and I wouldn’t curtail his temperament that’s for sure.”
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