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Lambert: Judge Was Brilliant, Keane Had Best Game for Town
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2019 19:24

Blues boss Paul Lambert has praised the performances of Alan Judge and Will Keane during Sunday’s local derby at Norwich City and says he’s hopeful that the former Brentford man might stay at Portman Road beyond the end of the season.

“I thought he was brilliant, I really did,” Lambert said of the 30-year-old’s display at Carrow Road.

“I thought as the game was going on he was getting stronger and better and they found it hard to cope with him, the way he was performing.

“I think by Judgy’s own admission, he thought he should have scored. But since he’s been here he’s been excellent, I’m delighted he’s here and he’ll get better and better as the weeks come.

“I think his performance got overshadowed by the other stuff which went with it.”

January signing Judge was given a more central role against the Canaries having operated in wider areas previously for Town.

“I just changed the system and got him central to the game where he can be more involved with it and I thought I’d see what he can do in there,” he added.

“I knew he played there anyway, so it wasn’t a surprise to me or him that he could do it because he has a threat and when he plays like that nobody can really get near him. I was delighted with how he played.”

Explaining the reason for the new system, which saw Freddie Sears play in a more advanced role and the Blues getting the ball forward more quickly on occasion, he continued: “We have to try and win games, we just have to go for everything now in 15 games to go. We have to try everything we can to try and force the issue.

“And that’s why we did it. And I think if you took the goals out of the game, we were well in the game, there was nothing in the game.

“We lost bad goals at certain times, especially the second one was a blow because we were in the ascendancy there and Matty Pennington, who I said I thought was excellent, tried a pass inside and they broke.

“But level-wise, commitment-wise and playing-wise, I couldn’t ask for any more.”

After another performance he'd been pleased with having yielded no points and with the Blues now nine plus goal difference from safety, Lambert admits he's ever more concerned about Town's Championship status.

“For God’s sake, yes," he said. "But we’re doing everything, nobody can say we went to Carrow Road and didn’t give them a game.

“They beat us by three goals but we were in the game, that game could have gone any way.

“They scored at the right moments, they’re top of the league, the momentum’s there with them. Whether they do it or not I don’t know, but as I said before, I’m pretty sure Leeds and others will have something to say about it. There’s a long, long way to go. It’s whether you can hold your bottle.

“It’s the same with us at the bottom, we’ve got to play with a lot of bottle, which we have been. I don’t think anybody can every complain the way we’ve tried to go and get the results.”

He says he'll accept any criticism which comes his way with some fans already having expressed their frustrations regarding results under his management, two wins, three draws and 12 defeats in 17 games.

“Absolutely, I never get caught up in it," he added. 'We’re trying everything we can to try and get results but I never ever get caught up in it. I can take pretty much anything that gets thrown at me.”

Judge’s short-term deal has an option for a further year, “more in the club’s favour”, according to the player, and Lambert is keen to take that up.

“Absolutely and I think Judgey wants to be here,” he said. “I think that’s a great thing as well. I think he wants to be here, I think he enjoys it. Yes, hopefully that gets sorted.”

Lambert was also impressed by striker Keane’s display at Norwich: “I thought he was excellent, he led the line fantastically, it was probably his best game for us and he deserved a bit more.

“He has to keep playing the same way but I thought his performance was very, very good."

Meanwhile, left-back Jonas Knudsen returned to the team at Carrow Road having been left out after indicating that he wanted to move on in January with his contract up at the end of the season.

“We never had any cross words,” Lambert insisted. “We spoke, we talked. There was absolutely no problem with Jonas whatsoever.

“I’ve said week after week, I think Jonas thought he was going to move at a certain time, I think everybody did.

“The club had to protect itself as well. If a left-back was to go we’d be left with only one left-back, it had to protect itself.

“As I said before, then all of a sudden nobody comes in for him, things fall through, anything can happen. You find yourself in a situation where you can’t play with the team you’re at and you can’t play at the team that you thought you were going to go to.

“It put him in a helluva position but I think that that was nothing to do with the club or myself, that was Jonas’s decision which you have to respect. I thought he did well on Sunday.”

Lambert has no doubt the Danish international will be giving his all for the remainder of the season.

“I think that was evident from him on Sunday,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could turn around and say that he pulled out of things or he never did anything other than the right thing, I don’t think anybody could be labelling him with anything other than that.”

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ITFCsince73 added 19:34 - Feb 12
Totally agree. It shows like a sore thumb that Judge hasn’t been MM coached.
A proper footballer with a great football brain.
And the longer he stays fit a new long term contract needs to made.
Possible captain material also? Knows how to play the correct way, which can only be good for the likes of Bish, Doz, and Downes.

jas0999 added 19:38 - Feb 12
Agree re Judge. He played very well.

Keane May have had his best game but still thought he was average. Depends if we want strikers who can score goals - if so then sadly Will is not the man.

TimmyH added 19:43 - Feb 12
Judge has made an improvement in the attacking third and looks sharper than when I saw him earlier in the season so good news in that respect, Keane so far a bit of a question mark against and in the 2 games I've seen him in not sure if he's that much better than Harrison.

Saxonblue74 added 19:47 - Feb 12
Itfcsince1973, you could be right about Judge as skipper. I don't see this as PR hype from Lambert, I agree with everything here. Particularly regarding Keane who I also thought was excellent on Sunday. If we had someone to play alongside him and pick up the second ball that could really pay dividends, Lankester would be ideal if he were fit. Maybe Harrison who I thought did well when he came on.

braveblue added 19:52 - Feb 12
Judge was ok but nothing fantastic. But I think he could be a great asset. Keane - not so sure. Looks like a decent striker with a poor goal scoring record.

Cakeman added 19:55 - Feb 12
Fully agree Judge was outstanding at Carrot Road. Now that Sears is out I think Judge will be our biggest goal threat. He looks sharper than when he first came and has got a good shot on him too.

Pecker added 19:58 - Feb 12
Judge was above average in a below average side. Better than we had, but hardly "brilliant". Keane is a waste of money and should be handed back as soon as. We all need a reality check folks. Any of you who think next season is going to be a walk in the park, are in for a rude awakening. Sorry, but that is how it is.

Saxonblue74 added 20:03 - Feb 12
Has to be 2 up top if we're going to play Keane, and personally I hope we do. He's not an out and out goalscorer but would do a job with a decent partner. I used to be quite a fan of Heskey who was not prolific as a striker but a very strong hold-up player, similarities?

dreamer added 20:03 - Feb 12
On the face of it Paul saying ''“ I think if you took the goals out of the game, we were well in the game, there was nothing in the game.'' is a daft thing to say!
But it is exactly what I said! I loved the way my team fought battled in midfield if they lost the ball battled to get the ball back. We conceded after a minute and for the rest of the first half they were holding on, we got better and better.
ONE THING BEFORE I GO though. Paul, practice set pieces

Barhamblue added 21:52 - Feb 12
Would love Judge on a new two year plus optional one year extension deal. I know this is controversial but would love to keep Jonas too, I still believe he is with out doubt the clubs best left back. Keene for me still has much to prove, but better to Judge him when fully match fit.

bluearmy84 added 22:06 - Feb 12
if anyone thought keane was average on sunday prob has never played football, fantastic hold up play, headers won and a lovely touch! put himself about and i thought prob out best player, if someone was alongside him to link with could be a very good player for us next season you can see he has class from his man utd days! get the service to him and lamberts says hes a great finisher!!!

Gcon added 22:17 - Feb 12
Be nice if one of them scored a goal once in a while...

MrJase_79 added 22:49 - Feb 12
Just rolling my eyes at the people on here that can't see the potential of Keane in L1 next season. Really short sighted.

TonyHumesIpswich added 00:25 - Feb 13
Both Keane and Judge will be needed in L1.

OwainG1992 added 00:53 - Feb 13
Next season in league both Keane and definitely Judge could be huge assets for us. The experience we will need around the likes of Lankaster, downes, bishop, dozzell, wolfenden etc.

martin587 added 07:04 - Feb 13
My big worry is will Alan Judge want to play in Div 1 should we be relegated.If we are in that scenario I would love him to stay because he is the type of player we need to bring the youngsters on and build around.
I agree,would make the perfect captain as he has class and commitment and has fitted in well in a very short time at the club.
With regard to Will Keane not sure if he will still be at the club next season,but he doesn’t lack endeavour and commitment.
After last nights results things are getting worse for us and every game is now a must win.If we loose the next three games then that’s it.Time to play the younger lads and get them bedded in for next season.(just my opinion though).
I really will be glad to see the back of this disastrous season.Worst I’ve seen in 55 years of supporting my club.

bluemike1969 added 09:42 - Feb 13
I'm sorry, did I miss something here? This guy was brilliant and that guy had the best game for us so far. So we won then yes?....No!!! did we draw then yes?......No! Oh, so we made a game of it then yes?....No!

PL.....Consider players brilliant when they start playing on the front foot and actually win a damn game fit flair and fight. Until then, get real! We are shocking and you know it, and we all know it. Plaster over subsidence and it still comes back!!!

naa added 11:25 - Feb 13
For me the only person in the squad who really looks like they know where the goal is is Jackson.

Sadly, he's let down by his general team play but if he was played as part of a 2-man strike force that would help him a lot.

naa added 11:28 - Feb 13
bluemike1969: a bit harsh. We certainly did make a game of it. The commentators on TV said so, the stats said so. Sadly, we are weak in two areas and those are up front and at the back! Which is why we are where we are.

Bluroo added 11:34 - Feb 13
I honestly can't wait until the inevitable relegation is confirmed now so the future can begin.

blueherts added 11:35 - Feb 13
Judge was brilliant - hey I like Judge , and think we are lucky to have him but brilliant ? Whilst this PR - everything is half full approach I admire I think we - as fans - can see honest endeavour and effort - which is least we expect - but brilliance ? If he had buried the chance he had in the bottom corner and we went on to win then yes 'brilliant'
I think we just need to build for Div One - play the committed and young players who will be here next season and tonight do not let Nugent near the ball , or Waghorn , or Marriott , or Wilson - Lets just play on the front foot and start with the Bish

TR11BLU added 12:10 - Feb 13
The main man in our charge to the title next season.

The Phoenix will rise

blueherts added 12:25 - Feb 13
Spot on we will bounce back - I take heart in Leicester Brighton Southampton Huddersfield Bournemouth and Wolves - all been Div One in last 10 years - Then of course our nearest and dearest neighbours , Sheff U , Leeds have all been down there and improved . So that is my positive word !!

bluemike1969 added 13:14 - Feb 13
naa....maybe I am, but sadly, like you and 1,000's of others who love this club, I am upset about what we have become. I also want to find positives but sadly at this moment I am unable to.But, as always, I will be behind them tonight 100%.... Follow the town, up or down......that is so true at this moment in time. I would rather us struggle and be safe this season and then work on it as I am not sure we can bounce straight back. But I will keep the faith.

ITFCsince73 added 17:00 - Feb 13
Bluehearts. Sorry to knock your positive vibe.
But all teams you’ve mentioned had owners who invested heavily in the squad etc etc.
We know this is something we are unlikely to have.

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