Lambert Looking for Blues to Bounce Back Against Swans
Monday, 22nd Apr 2019 06:00
Town boss Paul Lambert insists there’ll be no repeat of Good Friday’s lacklustre performance at Preston when the Blues take on Swansea City at Portman Road this afternoon looking for their first ever league double over the Welshmen.
Lambert was scathing about his side’s display as they were beaten 4-0 at Deepdale and he wants his team to bounce back against the Swans.
“That’s it, we train on Saturday, we train Sunday. That [the preston performance] won’t happen again, that’s for sure,” he insisted.
He says his players will need the sort of home atmosphere which has become familiar in recent months.
“We need them, we definitely need the support,” the Blues manager added. “I think they’ve seen it over the course of the few months I’ve been here that this is the way we play and this is our style. [Preston], that wasn’t us, that’s well, well below what I expect.”
Last week’s confirmation of relegation may well have been a significant factor leading to Friday’s display. Reflecting on his own playing career, Lambert said: “I know when you lose big games there’s a feeling of a backlash where it’s really difficult to lift yourself again.
“And no matter how much you try and how hard you try, things go wrong, everything goes wrong - your passing goes astray, you’re just nearly there.
“But if you’re just nearly there you’re better being a mile away because nearly is not good enough, you have to be bang on it.
“I’ve had disappointments with games but you bounce back as quickly as you can. As long as you never let it manifest, that’s the main thing for me.”
He added: “[The players have] played with a lot of strain in their game for a helluva long time and they’ve performed without getting the breaks.
“We’ve played some really good football, quick, fast, with energy, the whole thing, and never got the rewards we deserved.
“[On Friday], we got what we deserved, which was absolutely nothing because we never turned up.
“But that can happen. When relegation sinks in it can be an absolute body blow, but they’re young lads, they’ll bounce back from it I’ve no doubt. We know as a team and as a group that that was nowhere good enough.”
He says his team will have to put in the hard yards if they’re to put in an improved performance against the Swans.
“First and foremost we’re going to have to run, we’re going to have to work harder than we did at Preston, that wasn’t good enough, that was nowhere near the level I expect,” he said.
“I hope that will be a one-off because that’s not acceptable. None of my teams play like that, you can accept the odd game here and there when things don’t really happen for you but [at Preston] I don’t think we did anything.”
With fans weighing-up whether to buy season tickets for next season’s League One campaign, Lambert says they should remember the matches prior to Friday when the Blues have generally performed well, albeit without turning performances into victories.
“I think that’s important, I wouldn’t judge Ipswich Town on this game alone,” he continued. “I think it’s human nature that you can be seen as only as good as your last game but there’s also a lot of good things here, [which have been evident] from what’s happened beforehand.
“And there will be a lot of good things going forward and that’s the first time I’ve said the team has been nowhere near it, the first time in five months. Every other game we’ve been in the fight and looked a decent side. On Friday, I don’t think we did anything.”
He added: “Supporters are vital for us to move forward. I think the season tickets by all accounts have gone really well, or it’s been really good what Marcus has done. I think the fans are right into it.
“As I said, that’s one game. I could understand if it was like that for 20-odd games, then fair enough, but I think we’ve been playing really well. Today was a bad day, we never performed, never got near it and deservedly got beaten the way we did.”
Swansea go into the game 12th with a promotion push having been anticipated following their drop out of the Premier League last May.
“They’ve just been relegated so they’ve still got some lads who played in the Premier League last year and have been round about it,” Lambert said.
“They probably expected to be up there as well, along with Stoke, but for one reason or another it hasn’t happened.
“I don’t know what, what the problem is but they’ve still got a lot of finances behind them and a lot of power because they’ve just been relegated.”
Despite their disappointing season, the Swans squad features a smattering of players with a great deal of experience in the top flight which Lambert says illustrates the strength of the Championship.
“That’s what you’re up against and it just shows you this division’s really, really tough. But no matter what division you’re in, if you don’t work hard, you end up losing and [on Friday] it wasn’t good enough.
“Swansea, I don’t know the reasons why they’re not up there because they have got a lot of good players.”
Lambert is likely to make changes to his team for today’s game, however, Bartosz Bialkowski will almost certainly be in goal.
James Bree is likely to return at right-back having taken over from Josh Emmanuel at half-time at Preston with the academy product having had a tough first 45 minutes.
Myles Kenlock will be at left-back with skipper Luke Chambers partnered by either Toto Nsiala or James Collins, who missed the trip to Lancashire, at centre-half.
Lambert has said Andre Dozzell is likely to start in midfield, while Trevoh Chalobah and Jon Nolan could also return to the side, although Cole Skuse, Teddy Bishop and Flynn Downes will want to keep their places.
Up front, Collin Quaner could return having been left out at Deepdale or Will Keane may make his first start since returning from injury at the centre of the three with Kayden Jackson likely to drop to the bench having started at Preston, while Alan Judge is again set to be on the left.
With ex-Swan Gwion Edwards out with a groin injury, Lambert could give Idris El Mizouni his full home debut on the right.
Swansea have lost their last seven Championship games on the road - they were beaten 4-0 at QPR last time they were away from home - and manager Graham Potter says that run must end.
“We have to get the job done, it’s as simple as that,” Potter told the Swans club site. “There’s no point me talking about it, to be honest. We know what it is, we need to find a way to win.
“The boys will give everything I know that because it has been the case all season. Of course it’s always hard to go away in the Championship and the environments are difficult, but we know we are good enough to do it.”
Former Blues loanee Bersant Celina is a doubt having had a foot injury and having missed Friday’s 4-3 home victory over Rotherham through illness.
Centre-half Joe Rodon could return after recovering from a broken metatarsal, while midfielder Leroy Fer remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Over the years Swansea have just had the better of it, winning 11 games (11 in the league), Town having won 10 (eight) and with nine (eight) matches ending in draws.
At the Liberty Stadium in October Chalobah’s 84th minute header saw Town to what proved to be the only victory of the Paul Hurst era as the Blues beat Swansea 3-2 in a topsy-turvy game.
A Janoi Donacien own goal put the Swans in front in the eighth minute as the home side dominated but Edwards and Freddie Sears gave Town an unlikely lead via goals in the 27th and 31st minutes.
The Blues held on to their lead until the 79th minute when former loanee Celina lashed in an equaliser but Town weren’t to be denied the three points and Chalobah headed his second of the season five minutes later.
The sides most recently met at Portman Road in December 2010 when Town were let down by poor defending and referee Andy D’Urso’s failure to award a definite penalty when Carlos Edwards was felled as Swansea came from behind to win 3-1.
Loanee Andros Townsend put Town in front with his first and only goal for the Blues but Craig Beattie (2) and Joe Allen condemned Roy Keane’s side to their fifth consecutive league defeat.
Town last beat the Swans at Portman Road in January 2007 when an Alan Lee goal saw the Blues to a 1-0 FA Cup fourth round victory over the Swans at home.
The last time Town beat Swansea at home in the league was in November 1982 when the Blues won 3-1 with Russell Osman, George Burley and John Wark on the scoresheet.
Town winger Edwards came through the Swans’ youth system and was a sub for the first team without making his senior debut.
Former Town loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers is on loan at the Liberty Stadium this season. The Spurs defender made 17 starts for the Blues in a highly successful spell during the second half of last season.
Another of last year's Town loanees, Celina, joined the Swans from Manchester City on a permanent basis last summer. The Kosovan international made 26 starts and 12 sub appearances for the Blues, scoring eight goals.
Swans manager Potter was among those to be interviewed by the Blues last summer before later taking the job at the Liberty Stadium.
Monday’s referee is Darren England from South Yorkshire, who has shown 114 yellow cards and five red in 30 games.
His last Town match was the 2-0 defeat at Blackburn in which he yellow-carded Chambers and one home player and also awarded Rovers a penalty after Callum Elder had hauled down Adam Armstrong.
Prior to that he was in charge of the 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest last April in which he booked Grant Ward and one home player.
England, who is in his third season as a Championship official, also took charge of the 1-0 defeat at Bristol City a month earlier, in which he booked Jonas Knudsen and one Robin, and the 2-0 win at Sunderland a month prior to that, in which he cautioned Joe Garner and one Black Cat.
Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Bree, Emmanuel, Kenlock, Collins, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Nsiala, Ndaba, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Nolan, Dozzell, Bishop, El Mizouni, Edwards, Dawkins, Judge, Quaner, Jackson, Keane.
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