Lambert: Absolutely Fantastic Second Half
Saturday, 28th Sep 2019 18:31
Boss Paul Lambert praised his side’s “absolutely fantastic” second half performance as they beat Tranmere Rovers 4-1 at Portman Road but felt it should have come as no surprise that the visitors made life tough for his team before the break.
The Wirral side shaded the first period which ended 1-1 before Kayden Jackson netted the game’s crucial third goal three minutes after half-time to set the Blues on the way to what in the end was a comfortable victory.
“Every game’s hard, what do you think, do you think Tranmere will turn up and say, ‘Here you go Ipswich, we’re going to let you do what you want’? Lambert said. “It’s not going to happen, you’ve got to get that in your head.
“Football’s a really tough game, we don’t have a divine right to turn up, we don’t have a divine right to win games, we don’t have a divine right to play well.
“It’s impossible, you’re going to get games like this. Teams come here and see the stadium, see the atmosphere and you have to rise above it.
“I had that most of my career as a player, so I know exactly what it’s like. Nothing surprises me.
“We played really well, second half I thought we were absolutely fantastic. We’ll always look a threat, the goals were great, I was really, really happy with the team.”
He added: “If it was that easy, Notts Forest would have got out of the division, Sheffield Wednesday would have got out of the division, Sheffield United took six years, Norwich, OK, they did it, Leeds United. Teams don’t do it [easily], it’s a really tough division, that’s why I think you’ve got to be realistic about what you’re going up against here.
“Every game is hard, credit to Tranmere, they played a good game in the first half and made it difficult but they come here and maybe enjoy the atmosphere.
“As I said before, I had that in my own career as a player, I played with top clubs that every team wanted to come and beat, whether that was in Germany with Dortmund or at Celtic. Every team wants to come [to their ground and play].
“The important thing is you keep a cool head and you keep to your way of playing and hopefully that breaks teams down. In the second half I thought we were excellent.
“The team in the second half was relentless. The longer that game went on we looked really, really good.
“It’s just about patience and trying to keep things calm. The game wasn’t going our way in the first half but we still looked a threat, I always thought we had goals in us and the goals I thought just rounded everything off.”
Regarding Luke Garbutt’s brilliant first-half freekick from which he scored Town’s opener, he said: “The other week, he must have hit I would say about 12 freekicks for practice and he must have scored about eight or nine of them, and every one was like the one he scored.
“Was it a surprise to see it go it in? Probably not because he’s that technically [good], from set plays he’s incredible.”
It was another Garbutt freekick which led to the second goal, Tranmere keeper Scott Davies spilling the left wing-back’s low strike and Kayden Jackson slamming in the rebound.
“Maybe their goalkeeper will probably look back on it, but Kayden, who I thought was fantastic all game, did what any good striker does and put it in the net,” Lambert added.
The Blues boss was also pleased to see Jon Nolan net his second goal of the season on only his second league start of the campaign.
“Excellent, he’s a goalscorer, without a doubt he’s an absolute goalscorer,” he reflected. “The longer the game was going on we looked as if we could score a few more. But the whole place, is absolutely bouncing at the minute.”
Kane Vincent-Young’s brilliant solo effort was probably the pick of the four goals and Lambert says the former Colchester man has been in great form since joining the club.
“Kane’s was a great goal from a lad who is at the top end of his game at the minute,” he said.
“He’s playing ever so well and thought it typified how he’s settled first and foremost and his performances have been outstanding.”
Lambert started Cole Skuse in the back three and Lambert says that sort of versatility allows him to switch formations with ease.
“I think I’ve got the personnel now to change to whatever system I want to go to,” he said. “I think the squad is really strong throughout the whole dressing room, whether I change it to whatever system I want to play.
“We seem to adapt, which is great. They know what we’re like at the minute. I’m really pleased with the way the lads have been, they’ve been absolutely brilliant since the start.”
Lambert again used Judge in a free role, this time off two strikers rather than one as at Gillingham last week, and was pleased with the Irishman’s contribution.
“He did really well,” he continued. “I said before, Judgey’s a really, really good player and he can adapt to playing anywhere, whether he plays wide, he can play in the middle, he can play as a nine. Good players can play anywhere and he’s a good player.”
The League One season has now reached the 10-game mark, the point at which managers traditionally say the table starts to have some real meaning.
“The league starts to settle down,” Lambert said when asked about reaching the milestone. “But 36 games to go is a helluva lot of games left.
“Hopefully we’ve got one or two more guys left coming back from injury, they’re getting stronger. In this moment the club is moving in a really good way.”
While a good day overall, the Blues failed to take their run of clean sheets to a club record-breaking six in the league, but Lambert felt it would be churlish to chastise his backline for conceding.
“As a team, we’ve been brilliant defending-wise, so after one goal you can’t be too critical of them, they’ve been absolutely great,” he said.
“I can’t praise them highly enough as a whole team defensively, the back lads, the midfield lads, the front two. They’ve worked ever so well. You can’t be critical of that, you go down that [road] it’s crazy."
Regarding the fans, he added: “When you see the support after the game for the lads, absolutely brilliant. It’s been a long time since this stadium was like that, that’s for sure.”
Among those who missed out against Tranmere was striker Will Keane, who the Blues manager says has picked up a minor injury.
“He just hurt his groin a little bit, so we couldn’t take a chance,” he said. “We’ll just have to monitor him and see how he is but it’s not too bad.”
Rovers boss Micky Mellon said: "If you are going to be successful in League One you have got to take on the challenge of players darting across your penalty area.
"We have got a lot of work to do and keep working on the things we do right and we will continue to do that.
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