|Colchester United 1 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Tuesday, 12th November 2019 Kick-off 19:30
Lambert: We Were Beaten By a Tackle
Tuesday, 12th Nov 2019 22:59
Town boss Paul Lambert had no complaints about his young side’s display, despite the Blues falling to a 1-0 defeat at Colchester in the Leasing.com Trophy.
Lambert’s side now face an away game in the second round of the competition with the loss pushing them to second in the group behind the U’s.
“No, for heavens sake, I’m proud of them, really, really proud of them,” Lambert said when asked if he had any complaints about his team’s performance. “I’m really happy with how they performed.
“We got beaten by a tackle, basically. That might have been their first venture into the half.
“You look at the team we had, they had a strong side out. It makes me smile how well we did.”
Lambert insisted he isn’t too bothered that his side will be away in the next round: “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether we’re away or at home. We’re in good form. I don’t have a problem.
“The kids have been great, the young guys coming into the team and the lads coming back from injury.
“We’ve so many games here. We have meetings every morning, every day to see who we play, what teams we play or what personnel we play and we sit with the fitness lads and the medical department and we see who can play many games on the bounce and who can’t.
“So we think it out, it’s not just off the cuff. We’re thinking weeks in advance what teams we’ll play, what personnel we’ll play. The club’s in a helluva good place.”
Lambert gave three players debuts, 19-year-old Brett McGavin (above) from the start and 16-year-old midfielders Liam Gibbs and Tawanda Chirewa from the bench late on, the latter becoming the club’s second-youngest senior player at 16 years and 31 days.
“He’s been doing really well, Brett,” the Blues boss continued. “I put him in and he did great. I thought Ben Folami did great, a helluva injury [ruptured achilles] he had. And Gibbs (below) came on and Tawanda coming on, Tommy Hughes I know a bit.
The two younger kids, I’ve seen them train, I’ve seen them play in games at the training ground and when they train with their own teams, along with little Jack Manly [U15s forward], who I think has got a really good chance as well.
“As I’ve said before, if you’re young enough and I think you’ve got a chance, I’ll throw you in.”
He added: “It’s great, if we can’t buy players for X amount of money, you’ve got to rear your own. You’ve got to have somebody willing to take a chance on them.
“As I’ve said, if I’d never had Alex Miller, Martin Ferguson and Drew Jarvie [at St Mirren] I wouldn’t be standing here having had the career I had. They threw me in at 15 years of age, 16, and if I hadn’t had those people believing in me I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Reflecting further on his own first steps in the senior game, he said: “Fifteen in a friendly and then my first competitive game was at 16. If I’d never had the manager I had I wouldn’t be standing here.
“I thank them, Martin and Drew Jarvie and Alex Miller, without them I wouldn’t have had the upbringing I had.”
Asked what he likes about Chirewa (above), who lives in Shenfield but qualifies to play international football for Zimbabwe, he added: “I’ve just seen loads of things in him. It’s great for him. He looks younger than 16 when you talk to him.
“I think it’s brilliant, I think it’s brilliant for the kids to experience the short bus journey, the pre-match, the experience of it, the dressing room. And I think it’s great, I really do. I think the club’s in a really good place.
“He’s not frightened of the ball, that’s for sure. He keeps taking the ball, along with Gibbo, he keeps taking the ball, there’s no fear factor in their game. You need somebody to throw them in. I’m happy, I’m really, really happy with what’s happened.”
He says he has watched the likes of Chirewa at Playford Road: “Yes, I’ve seen them train, I’ve seen them play, the lads at night. While you’re tucked up in your bed I’m watching the kids train.
“The academy deserve great credit for the kids that are coming through. As I’ve said before, you never, ever know. But they’ve got ability, that’s for sure.
“We had to get permission from his school and release from his school. I just think it’s brilliant, I think it’s a great story.
“He’s a young kid, him and Gibbo will go back and train at their level but this just gives them a little taster of what being a footballer can be like. It’s a good story.”
Lambert says that giving youngsters games has been a real positive of a competition of which he isn’t otherwise a fan.
“From that aspect yes, but long-term it’s not good because we play too many games in this country, the fixture pile-up, too many games,” he said. “But on that side of it, it’s OK.”
Lambert has a history of playing young players at his previous clubs and he insists it wasn’t a gamble giving them their chance this evening.
“It’s not a punt, it’s not a risk because I know they can do it. I know they can handle the ball,” he said.
“I know they can do things with it, I’m really proud of them. We dominated the game, start to finish. We’ve had so much dominance, so much great play.
“Colchester played a strong side, and we got beaten by a tackle. That’s the game. It’s not the result, the result doesn’t matter, it’s how well we played.”
He added: “It gives them a taster but I wouldn’t give them a taster for the experience. I think they can do little things with the ball. They can excite people, they can play with no fear.
“So from that point of view I’m really happy. We’ve got so many games coming up, but I’m happy deep down.”
One of the more experienced players involved, Emyr Huws, played his second full 90 minutes in four days, the first time the Welshman has played two whole games in such quick succession since Easter 2017 when the Blues beat Burton and then Newcastle.
“It’s incredible,” Lambert continued. “Even in the FA Cup, our back four, apart from Toto, started the season.
“Emyr has been in and out with his injury, but he’s getting better, that’s great for him that, it’s a big psychological boost for him doing back to back games. I think that’s great. There are so many good things there. I’m happy.”
Meanwhile, he says Kane Vincent-Young is doing well after his groin surgery: “He’s doing really well, Kane at the moment. We’ll see how he progresses through the next week or so.
“Lads will play in the FA Cup, then we’ve got the Blackpool game and the Wycombe game, so we’ve got loads of games. When you carry one or two knocks, it’s impossible to rest them.”
Colchester boss John McGreal admitted the winning goal was somewhat freakish.
“I thought Ryan played particularly well,” he told the Colchester Gazette. “He went in for the tackle, hit it and it’s sailed over their keeper.
“The keeper’s a man-mountain, so to beat him from there just shows the connection he had when he went in for the tackle.
“As he ran towards the bench, he looked really light-headed. I think it suddenly dawned on him he’d scored in a derby.”
The former Town defender added: “It was brilliant and nice for our fans to go home with a win in the derby.
“Ipswich had seven major players in their team. I know they rested a couple but those boys were in the Championship last year and now they’re top of League One.
“We know how difficult that division is from playing Coventry [in the FA Cup] on Saturday.
“That’s why it was such an excellent win for us. We were more disciplined defensively but it needed something brilliant or cheeky or lucky to win the game.
“As it was, it was a lucky strike that got us through but sometimes you need that in football.”
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