Lambert: A Brilliant Win
Sunday, 5th May 2019 16:12
Boss Paul Lambert hailed his side’s 3-2 victory over play-offs-bound Leeds as a “brilliant win” of the type the Blues deserved during their spell of 1-1 draws during February and March.
“It’s a brilliant win, it really is a fantastic win, but I think that’s what we’ve deserved in all the draws we’ve had,” Lambert reflected.
“In all those draws we had, even in those draws I thought we deserved to win games and if we’d won at least another six I don’t think anybody would have begrudged us because we were playing that well, we’ve been playing that way.
“It’s only the last three games or so that I thought the wind was taken out of our sails once relegation sunk in.
“But that performance was like pre-Birmingham really, the way we performed. The only difference was that we took our chances.
“Performance-wise and effort and commitment, I can’t ask for any more. There’s been a bit of bad luck in the draws, if we turned the six [1-1] draws in [seven games] into wins, which I thought we deserved to do, against good sides we’d have been out of it.”
When Town got their breaks today they took them clinically, something which wasn’t often the case during the run of draws.
“Which you need,” Lambert added. “Leeds United have been in great form, a really good side, we wish them luck in the play-offs, and not many teams have beaten them.
“We’ve played really well, we got the breaks in the right moments but we played some really good energetic football ourselves and I think we matched them for a lot of the game. They had a good spell in the second half but we always looked dangerous, I thought.”
Lambert was pleased to see Andre Dozzell net only his second goal for the club, his first came on his debut three years ago last month, and his first at Portman Road.
“I don’t know if it’s been tough for him or not, the kid, because he’s not long back from an ACL injury which is an incredible injury,” the Blues boss said when asked if it had been a difficult season for the midfielder, who turned 20 this week.
“He’s missed a lot of football that kid. If there are two players coming in from the right-hand side on their left foot, for me it would have been him or Jack Lankester. They’d either hit the target or score. When I saw him going in on that side I thought it was a great chance for him to score.
“But the move was brilliant. I think Myles Kenlock started it and Cole Skuse played a brilliant first time ball around the corner to Flynn Downes and then we break out and we cut them open and the finish was a world-class finish.
“He’s a big talent, as I’ve always said with Andre, a huge, huge talent and it’s another game for him.”
Lambert was also impressed by Flynn Downes, who netted his first senior goal to give the Blues their first lead: “I thought he was outstanding. He’s not been well during the week, he’s had a sickness bug.
“Teddy Bishop pulled out, I had to change the team this morning because Bishop was sick, so I couldn’t play him, which made me rethink and change personnel, so that threw us a little bit. I think everybody needs a break.
“Flynn was [due to start] but I knew I wasn’t got going to get a full 90 minutes out of him. But I had him in my head to start and Bishop pulled out this morning, so I couldn’t play him.”
Reflecting further on Downes and Dozzell, two of several youngsters who are set to be important players in League One next season, Lambert added: “I think it’s great, I think it’s exciting, they play the game with real quickness, real energy.
“It’s great working with younger ones at certain times. They have a lot to learn, they’ll have a lot of ups and downs in their careers.
“But they’re big talents and some time the talent’s going to come to fruition. I’m looking forward to working with the guys because I think they’re really good players and they’re good guys. It’s more important that they behave right, they do things right and that’s important for me.”
Was he glad to end such a miserable season on a high note? “I think I’ve said before there’s no way this place feels like a relegation club. It’s extraordinary that support we’ve had, right through my time here the support’s been outstanding and I can’t thank them enough for their support.
“It was a proper game, the Leeds United fans made it a great occasion as well. Our support has been outstanding, the season tickets are doing great, I’m led to believe, more season tickets next season than this season.
“We’ve been relegated - more season tickets, which speaks volumes for the support. I think people want to come to the stadium now to watch exciting football.
“I don’t think they want to come and watch and criticise or boo if things are not going their way. The big marker is season tickets, I think that speaks volumes, and hopefully we’ll get more in. It’s important we get the fans in, that’s for sure.”
Lambert says he’s looking forward to next season already: “I love the club, I think it’s brilliant, I don’t like seeing it in the position it’s in, I think there’s a lot of things on and off the pitch everybody wants to be better.
“But you see the support, the support has been absolutely brilliant for us and you wouldn’t think it would be the case we’re getting relegated when the support’s the way it is.
“The season ticket [sales] speak volumes that people want to come back and watch the club. I think they were starting lose fans and I could see why they were starting to lose fans - there was no connection, so I could see how it could happen.
“The great thing is that the younger generation are coming to watch as well. The people that have been here for years and years are wanting to come back.
“I think it’s brilliant, the whole thing is great and I’m looking forward to a break. But I’m mostly looking forward to what’s going to happen next season because it could be really exciting.”
Has he learnt a lot about the squad in recent weeks? “I thought after the Birmingham game there was a lull and I think that’s normal, human nature, because we’d just been relegated.
“Today was how we had been playing in a lot of games without getting the rewards. They’re young, 18 or 19-year-olds in the team, and they’ll be in a better place for it next season, that’s for sure.”
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said his side's performance didn't deserve conceding three goals, while he felt they should have scored more themselves.
"At the end of the game you couldn’t think that this opponent could score three goals against us," he said. "It was impossible that we couldn’t score three or four goals.
"It’s not an analysis that I made before the game, it's one I made after the game.
"We conceded three goals, and this is something that is impossible to explain. We also only scored two goals, that is also difficult to justify."
He added: "If you put aside mistakes that were avoidable that we made in this game, apart from these mistakes, the performance of the team was good enough.
"But in both boxes we had actions. In the opponent's box we built offensive play that was difficult not to score and this problem was evident because the chances we had to score were even more than usual.
"But what we are not used to seeing in our team is that out of four actions, they scored three goals and we are also not used to the fact that the opponent, in order to score goals, gets help from our team.
"We have a strong defensive side in our team. We had two centre-backs that have been the best of the Championship, a very good number four in front of Kalvin Phillips, we have a number four who can be a number eight and an eight that can be a number 10.
"So that’s why we had defensive structures linked to the recovery of the ball. If we analysed the defensive behaviour of the teams in the Championship, we have to put the defensive efficiency as one of the strong points of the team.
"The fact the we conceded three is linked to specific actions and we can’t draw conclusions from the team and these players because of these specific actions.
"The reason why we haven’t been directly promoted is we missed many chances and one of the reasons that we finished third and not lower is the quality of our defence, and thanks to the collective effort.
"The negative new thing about this game usually we defend with strength but it was not the case today. For me, I think that’s an exception but I have to admit it."
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