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Lambert: Outstanding First Half as Well as We've Played
Tuesday, 17th Sep 2019 22:58

Boss Paul Lambert felt his side’s “outstanding” first-half display as they defeated MK Dons 1-0 at Stadium MK was as well as they’ve played this season.

Town were very much on top in the opening period during which Jon Nolan netted the only goal, before being forced to defend after the break as the Dons improved, but the Blues backline held out to confirm their third away win of the season

“The first half was outstanding, the best we’ve played I think since the start of the season. The first half was brilliant, the way we played,” Lambert said.

“A lot of pluses there with Emyr [Huws] and Nolan and [Luke] Garbutt coming back. The only risk with those three was their fitness levels. But I thought they were excellent the three lads. It was brilliant goal.

“The second half was a brilliant performance due to the defending. We were resolute, really, really strong and we looked not bad on the counter. But in the first half I thought we should have been out of sight.”

Lambert agreed that the first half display deserved more than the single goal lead: “Yes, because we were playing well. We had so many good moments, we were dominant in the game.

“As I’ve said before, the lads have got a target on their backs and they’re going to have it to the end of the season because of the size of the club.

“Rightly or wrongly, people will portray that how they want. But just because we’re a big club in name doesn’t matter. If it was that easy Sunderland would have gone up last year.

“It doesn’t matter, we’ve got a young side there, lads who haven’t played in the league before, the first time for some of them. Guys who are just starting their careers. But the level we’ve been playing is extremely high.”

Lambert confirmed he started with a back three before quickly moving Cole Skuse into midfield.

“We saw their team, we planned to play in a back three,” he added. “But I saw they only played one up top and I said ‘If you see that happening, step into the middle of the pitch’ and that’s what happened.”

Regarding goalscorer Nolan, Lambert was delighted to see the Liverpudlian get on the scoresheet: “He’s made his career out of it and he’s been brilliant. The lad’s just back [from injury], I thought he was outstanding, I really did.

“He’s not played for a helluva long time and to play the way he did, I was really pleased with him.”

Lambert was pleased to have been able to make four changes but still name a similarly strong side.

“We need all the guys, you can’t rely on 18 guys, we need everybody,” he continued. “I know it’s hard at times when you’ve got to wait your turn, but I need everybody. I said before, if you sacrifice the me for the we we’ve got a chance.”

Lambert also stressed the importance of the clean sheet, Town’s fourth in a row: “It’s tough, it’s a tough, tough division with the number of games we have. And the big thing we’ve got is that we’re every team’s cup final. It’s every team’s cup final against us. Look at our support, that support’s extraordinary.”

The Blues manager had praise for centre-half James Wilson: “I thought it was his best game, I thought he and Chambo were excellent. All the back lads, I thought they were excellent, I couldn’t complain about that one bit.

“I thought we were really, really good defensively and even in the first half I thought we had a lot of the ball at the back as well and we made really good use of it.”

The one negative was James Norwood’s first-half injury, which Lambert says is related to a problem he suffered while with Tranmere.

“It’s his groin, he had a problem with it last season,” he said. “But knowing Nors, the way he is and the way he wants to keep playing, we’ll see how he is.”

Lambert was able to call on Will Keane in his place, however, he says the former Hull City man is still a little way off his best having undergone hamstring surgery early in the summer.

“He’s one [who has been out longest], he’s the biggest one for us, we don’t know how he is. We need to see how he is but that’s his first real game since he got injured at Sheffield United [on the penultiate day of last season].”

Myles Kenlock, ever-present in the league before today, was left out of the 18 and Lambert says the left-back has to win back his place in the team.

“He’s got to fight to get back in,” he challenged the academy product. “And I think it’ll have done Myles the world of good giving him a rest.

“The kid’s been playing week in, week out. I think his level, maybe he’s not quite hit the heights he did last year but he’ll come back and he’ll be stronger for it. It’s not a bad thing getting left out.”

Dons boss Paul Tisdale felt his team did everything other than score a goal.

“I’m disappointed we got nothing from it because I think we deserved to,” he said.

“I don’t think we started badly, they just did a very good job on us. A game of football is never the same from the start through to the finish and you have to be able to adapt and navigate your way through.

“It was a change of style at half-time. It wasn’t a critique on the first half or the players that came off – I mean, Joe Walsh was one of our best players in the first half - it was about changing the style.

"We did that and with a bit more craft and luck, we could have scored.

“We all saw the game – we did everything but score. We didn’t get the goal and the goals are, of course, the most important factor in any game, but in terms of the contribution, I think we found our feet and we tried really hard.

“We have to find a way to work through that type of situation better. We’ve got to find a way in future to come away with something in a game like that but there’s plenty to work with.”

He added: “[The players] are cross, agitated and frustrated and that’s a good sign.

“It’s also a good sign that we’re playing against a top of the table team, who are surely going to be a contender, and we’ve made them hang on for 50 minutes, if not longer.

"I think that’s a compliment to our players and the way we made the game turn in our favour.

“Well done to the players and well done to the supporters for getting behind us. As I’ve said, plenty to work with.”

Photo: TWTD

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warwickblue added 23:14 - Sep 17
Brilliant but we do need to bang a few more of these chances in. One goal isn't always going to be enough.

Foreverdon_Blue added 00:10 - Sep 18
Yes, excellent result and still unbeaten! Slightly worried about Norwood’s injury but hopefully he will battle on!

ChateauWines added 00:24 - Sep 18
Agree with everything PL says. First half outstanding football with intensity, passing, movement and real intent. Second half saw MK Dons equally good and even though it was hard watching, credit to boys for hanging in there. Celebrations at end great

Len_Brennan added 00:47 - Sep 18
Away win & clean sheet is always good, but we weren't great here & could easily have dropped points. Yes of course Lambert can say that we are the big dog in this division with a target on our back, but equally you could argue that some of the 'smaller' teams tend to show us too much respect & play cautiously against us out of fear, particularly early on; I think that happened with MK Dons, who stood off us for much of the first half, but clearly were torn into by their manager at half time before taking the game to us in the second half.
Big plusses are the return to the starting XI of Huws, Nolan & Garbutt, all off whom showed good touches at times, and also an hour of Will Keane, without injury. Those are 4 serious footballers to have in a Division 1 squad.
Biggest loser of the night was Alan Judge, who must have been watching where Jon Nolan was dispatched with great jealousy & annoyance.

mojo added 02:57 - Sep 18
Pl means sacrific8ng the me for the we surely? Not the other way round.

lightingblue added 07:02 - Sep 18
Another great win. The prove is in the pudding. Win games, you get bums on seats. To take best part 3500 fans to MK is amazing. Not many top tier teams would achieve that. Ok I do appreciate that it may well be one of the easier mid week games and not travelling to Fleetwood on a Tuesday January night. It still takes some doing. By all accounts the lads had to work hard in the 2nd half but a win is a win. Again win games you have happy smiley faces and fans turning up again.

Wickwar_Blue added 07:26 - Sep 18
Be careful what you wish for.

I’m just enjoying us winning games of football again! Looking forward to the Tranmere match as it’s my first trip to PR for an couple of years.


inghamspur added 08:50 - Sep 18
This will be the real test of whether we are promotion contenders by seeing how we cope with injuries. So far, so good though.

d77sgw added 08:50 - Sep 18
It’s worth pointing out here that MK Dons are no mugs - they got a cracking result last weekend and if they had beaten us last night would have been sitting third in the table. That to me underlines how good our first half performance was - and we have to expect to be under the cosh at some point of any game. Let’s not also forget that we had three/four players out there all not 100% match fit. Nah, if people are going to grumble about an away win and clean sheet (4!) then I don’t know what’ll make some happy!

Murphys_Law added 09:17 - Sep 18
Phil any quote from their manager on the game?

warksonwater added 10:22 - Sep 18
Has it dawned on anyone that we have already equalled last season's win tally?!

nhabo added 13:20 - Sep 18
Great away support. Second half was nervy/gritty - we gave the ball away too cheaply as MK applied pressure. Plenty of room for improvement so I'll take that result!

Blue041273 added 09:00 - Sep 19
It’s somewhat understandable that many are starting to lose their nerve! For me we are brilliant, have been all season, and are in a really good place at the moment. Sure there’s room for improvement but i’m really enjoying this season. Say it loud and say it proud the Ipswich are back! Please keep the faith!


bullyblue2 added 18:16 - Sep 19
"Kenlock hasnt hit the heights of last season" He was average at best! Feck me!

Blue041273 added 08:41 - Sep 20
Yeah Feck you Billyblue2! Kenlock is one of our own! He is a blue!

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