Lambert: Really Good, Really Happy With Everybody
Saturday, 26th Oct 2019 18:42
Manager Paul Lambert hailed his side as "brilliant" after they returned to winning ways and the top of League One by beating Southend United 3-1 at Roots Hall.
James Norwood scored twice and Kayden Jackson once as the Blues halted their run of two successive defeats.
“Brilliant, tough game, new manager syndrome, usual stuff,” Lambert said. “The lads were great.
“Are we top of the league again? Maybe we’ll get some negative questions again, unless we turn the table upside down and we’re bottom!
“No, really good, really happy with everybody, lads have done brilliant, great support again. We played a good game. They didn’t really threaten other from corners but I was happy.”
He was pleased with the way his players handled what might have been a tricky game against a Shrimpers side led by new boss Sol Campbell for the first time.
“Absolutely because of the expectance level number one and secondly the new manager syndrome, which you do get but I thought the day was all about us and how we went about it,” he said.
“We spoke after the Rotherham game, we spoke leading up to this one, what we expect and what we think and they carried it out brilliantly. I thought the game plan was really good.
“We withstood the atmosphere in here in a local kind of game as such. The performance was good.
“We got a great goal from Norwood, the first goal. The front two were a handful all game and I thought we played a good game.”
He added: “I was asked yesterday about Norwood, he’s a unique kind of guy, the way he battles through things, he’s old school, and that’s compliment to him.
“Him and Kayden play really well together and the two of them scored again, so I’m really happy.
“I thought they were excellent, I thought they were a handful all game. As a pair they were excellent together. They complement each other really well and their finishing I think is different class.
“Norwood’s finishing was brilliant, right and left foot, and Kayden I think is really, really sharp at the minute. Really happy with the two of them.”
The Blues manager was also pleased with the impact made by his subs: “Jon Nolan was unfortunate to be left out, the reason I left him out was because he played a lot of football and missed a lot of pre-season and I thought he was excellent when he came on. Him and Flynn Downes were really, really good.
“James Wilson came on, did very well. Judgey, I thought looked more like his old self. So the three of them made an impact.”
Downes was booked in the ??th minute - meaning he’ll miss the game at Rochdale in 10 days as it was his fifth caution of the season - but never looked like drawing a second card from referee Andy Davies.
“He’s got that little streak in him where he can see the red mist at times but I’d never curtail that because he needs that in his game,” Lambert continued.
“I was happy, he showed really good maturity, he stayed on his feet and he played a really good game.”
Cole Skuse was subbed in the first half after suffering a knock, which Lambert says may have been down to the Blues playing several games in a short space of time.
“I don’t know if it’s his groin,” he said. “Three games in six days is a lot. I know Cole would probably say he could play every game.
“The thing you’ll never beat is age or time, it happens to every footballer. He’s been fabulous, he’s playing really, really well and maybe three games in six days was maybe just one too much.”
Kane Vincent-Young was replaced in the second half with a recurrence of the groin injury which has been hampering him for the last month.
“Yes, same little thing. We’ve got 10 days, we’ll see how they recover,” the Town manager added.
Lambert made the surprise decision to drop Tomas Holy and give Will Norris his first league start for the Blues.
“Nothing against Tomas at all, he’s been absolutely outstanding for us, as I said before,” the Blues manager said. “He wasn’t at fault for any goals in the last two games.
“I felt Will needed a game and a little bit of a lift. He trains hard, he works really hard, pushes Tomas to the limit and I just felt this one was the right call.
“To be fair, he’s really assured, he’s got a really great left foot on him. I was happy with how he played.
“There was probably a lot of pressure on him but I knew the type of goalkeeper he was because I saw him playing before and the lads should all know Will really well and I knew because I saw how well he plays, he’s a top keeper Will Norris.”
He says Holy took the decision professionally: “Great. One thing about Tomas Holy is he’s probably one of the hardest ones have had to tell he’s not playing because he’s such a nice guy.
“I always say I’ll never tell anybody any lies, I’ll always tell them why I’m doing it, the reason I’m doing it.
“He was great about it, probably disappointed, I get that, but I think he understands that we’re a squad, we’re a team and we have to try and utilise everybody.”
Will Norris now get a run in the side? “You never know what can happen in training. I’ll decide nearer the time. We’ve got 10 days, we’ll enjoy this one, we’ll go home, we’re top of the league and we’ll do it again next week.”
Lambert says he’s unconcerned that the Blues now have a gap before they play again, at Spotland a week on Tuesday.
“I’m not bothered and I don’t want anybody to have the mindset of ‘What happens here? What happens here?’,” he said.
“We’ve handled everything brilliantly, we’ve handled the way we’ve played, the expectance level, the whole occasion, the big crowd travelling to watch us.
“We know we’re in the strongest position out of all the teams in the league as it stands at the minute. Everybody would love to be where we are. We’ve got a game in hand and we’re playing well.”
And the break does give the likes of Skuse and Vincent-Young a chance to recover from their injuries.
“It does and hopefully that’s what’ll happen,” he said. “We’ll go and enjoy a few days’ rest because we’ve had three games in six days, which is a tough gig.
“So, I’m delighted with the team, how they’re going at the minute. I’m delighted with the club because the club is now really, really going the way you want it to go. We’ve only been here a year but the turnaround has been massive.”
Lambert was pleased with the way his team bounced back from the two defeats: “They always do. No matter what team you are. Even the best teams in the world lose a couple of games and people ask why that happens. It happens, it’s how you bounce back and the character and the way we played was excellent.”
The Blues switched back to a 4-4-2 system and he believes his side is capable of playing a variety of formations.
“I think they can do that now, I think they’re experienced enough to handle different ways of playing,” he reflected.
“I’ve got no problem with the system I play or what personnel I play. Whoever players, I trust them. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give them.”
Lambert said in some ways the performance was about getting back to basics, about returning to what had brought his team success earlier in the season.
“I think that was the biggest thing, as I said yesterday, we had to get that back. In a subconscious way you can’t play like that every single game, it’s tough,” he said.
“But the level we played today, especially against a team that’s going to try to impress their new manager and has just been beaten 7-1 and is having a hard time in the league.
“New manager syndrome, all the guys they’ve got have got a clean sheet, I guess, so they’re going to improve. A few weeks into the job they’ll probably return to how they normally are some of them.
“Sol’s got a big job here to try and turn it around but the atmosphere in the stadium today, that raises people’s games, they won’t always have that. But the way we played, I was really happy.”
He added: “Go back to what gave us the success up until now. I think we’d played 15 or 16 games including the cup games and we’ve only been beaten three times, so the level we’re playing at and the standard we’re setting is really, really high.”
Reflecting on the season up to now, Lambert says he takes pride in the manner in which the team have turned things around from the disappointments of the last campaign.
“I’m proud of them because the mentality to turn that around and go from a losing team or a drawing team to winning is an incredibly tough thing to do,” he said.
“But they’ve done it really, really well. They’ve handled the occasions, they’ve handled going to grounds where we’ve more or less outnumbered the opposition fans and the expectance levels on us.
“But the way the club is going at the minute we’re in a really good place, on and off the pitch, that’s the pleasing thing.
“Some big clubs have been in this division and they’ve been in here for a number of years. At the minute, we’re going well.”
Shrimpers boss Campbell felt there were pluses in the performance despite the result, although thought their early goal oughtn't to have been disallowed.
“There were a lot of positives,” the former centre-half insisted. “We started off well and we should have had a goal because it shouldn’t have been disallowed when Rob Kiernan scored.
“He’s onside and he’s level. But that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re at the bottom. Sometimes you don’t get the rub of the green.
“The main thing for us was we didn’t give up and we got a goal. They didn’t throw the towel in and that pleased me a lot.
“They gave everything and if we keep that attitude things will change so it will be us getting the rub of the green.
“They worked hard and that’s probably the hardest they’ve worked for some time. That’s the level but we have to build on that now.”
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