Lambert: Draw Probably a Fair Result
Saturday, 9th Nov 2019 18:23
Blues boss Paul Lambert conceded that a draw was probably a fair result following the 1-1 FA Cup stalemate with Lincoln City at Portman Road but admitted a replay was the last thing he wanted.
Town are set to travel to Sincil Bank a week on Wednesday to take on the Imps for a second time.
“Probably, yes,” he said when asked if the result was a fair reflection of the tie. “The penalty save was a big moment.
“In the first half we never really got going, the second half was a lot better, we changed the system a little bit and we got stronger and stronger as the game went on. We got a great goal ourselves and, obviously, the penalty save was a big moment.”
He said the draw was the result he was hoping to avoid: “A draw and a replay, yes. But it is what it is, you can’t change it, that’s the ruling. You’ve got to go up there on the Wednesday.
“I just heard it’s a week on Wednesday. The lads are still away on international duty but I think that’s the rule, so if that’s the case we have to play.”
He says he had no regrets about changing all 10 of his outfield players: “None, because I trust the guys, they’re equally as important as the guys who have been playing, so not one bit.
“Football’s changed, it’s totally changed. You don’t just have one to 11 or 18 everybody’s got a role to play.
“I’m happy with the team, the guys that played, we got stronger. No, I don’t have any regrets.”
Asked whether it was inevitable given the changes that the first half would be disjointed, he added: “Not just that, there’s some guys who have not played for a couple of weeks, some guys have just come back from injury.
“The guys went in there, difficult game, they played a really strong side which has played most of their games.
“And our lads had more or less come in and were playing against them, so I was happy and the second half was good.”
He says he asked them for more intensity at half-time: “We spoke about it, not a shouting match or anything like that. It was, ‘What can we do better? Where do with think it’s not working?’.
“We changed the system in the second half and we got more dominance and in the second half of thought we looked more like ourselves.”
Lambert felt Andre Dozzell will have been given a boost having scored his goal and was also pleased with the 20-year-old’s overall display in the second half.
“Lovely, great and to be fair to him I thought as the second half wore on he was getting better, he was the one that was actually dictating the play. I thought in the second half he was excellent,” he said.
Was the half-time change of system, which saw Dozzell move inside, aimed at getting him on the ball more after the break? “There was that and he plays really brilliant football round the corners at times, he really does.
“As I said before, he’s a young lad who had a really bad injury and he’s a big talent, Andre Dozzell.
“I thought in the second half he was the one dictating where the ball was going, he was the one that was dictating the speed of the game, so for me the second half from him was very good.”
Lambert felt there were plenty of positives to take from the match: “I thought Dozzell was good, I thought Toto Nsiala responded well after giving away the penalty. I don’t know if it was a penalty or not, I’ll have to see it again.
“I thought Myles Kenlock looked like him old self again, Anthony Georgiou getting game time, Will Keane getting game time, so there were a lot of good things from that, the only downside was we have to have a replay.
“We could have done without it and I’m pretty sure Lincoln would probably be the same. But look at all the scores today, there were a helluva lot of draws. It’s just fitting it in when we have to go and play.”
Regarding Town’s near-10-year, 15-game wait for an FA Cup win, he says it was something which was part of the overall apathy he found at the club when he took charge a year ago.
“I think it was a culmination of everything really, I think there was a disconnection of the support from the club, people moaning, ‘This isn’t not going right, that’s not going right’,” he recalled.
“Things like the FA Cup get thrown in and no progress. I think it was a culmination of everything that was happening. As I said before, the first point of call was to get the supporters back into it.
“Not getting through a round for 10 years is an incredible stat any way you want to look at it. But the big thing was we had to get the fans coming back in and wanting to enjoy football again, making it exciting.
“And I think that’s the biggest thing, making the football club exciting again. You see that many young ones coming along now, which is great. We’re getting 20,000 people here for a league game, 11,000 when it’s not even a season ticket game.”
Did he have any thoughts about that when naming a side with so many changes? “I trust the guys, absolutely. We played a really strong Lincoln side, these guys have been playing all their games. I don’t think they made many changes, one in fact.
“We have a young kid, Dobra, Will Keane has just come back from injury, Anthony Georgiou, his first start, Huws, not many for two years. Dozzell has not played many games.
Janoi Donacien’s been out of the team for a few weeks. James Wilson, a couple of weeks but did well. Toto’s just come back from injury. Myles has been out of the team for a few weeks, Flynn has come back after suspension having been brilliant for us.”
Lambert says it’s more a case of getting minutes into the players involved today rather than resting the regular League One starters.
“We have too many games,” he continued. “One guy gets injured and I know another guy will be up to speed. It’s not about giving him a gift and him a gift for not playing, it’s not that at all.
“It’s about getting everybody up to speed where if one guy gets injured I know another guy is more or less up to speed with the guy that’s got injured. It’s not a present if you play under me, you have to earn it.
“And every guy who played today I trust them and they’ve earned the right to play, so not a problem.”
Lincoln manager Michael Appleton thought his side did enough to claim the victory.
“I thought they improved [in the second half], obviously they changed their shape a couple of times, but the keeper didn’t have much to do in terms of saves," he said.
“There was stuff being flashed across the box but you'd expect that in a cup tie away from home against the highest-ranked team in the competition.
“But we should have had a penalty in the first half, we’ve missed a penalty in the second, the keeper’s had to make a few decent saves.
“Disappointed but delighted with the performance. A good experience for some of the younger players in the team, which I’m sure they enjoyed apart from not getting through.
“But we’re still in the hat, we get an opportunity to see who we will potentially play in the next round if we’re lucky enough to get through.”
Appleton is well aware of the Blues' previous visit to Sincil Bank in a third-round replay in 2017 which the Imps - then in the National League with Town in the Championship - won 1-0.
“It’s a little bit of added spice to it, isn’t it?" he added. "And that was always the way today.
"From us, it was one of them where we’ve done enough in the game, the players are disappointed down there, and rightly so, but I keep reminding everyone, there’s another opportunity around the corner at some point.
“The fact that it’s at home, and we’ve done OK at home of late, and there’s a little bit of decent history on our side, so hopefully we’ll do the same again.”
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