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Lambert: Whole Team Grew in the Second Half
Wednesday, 20th Nov 2019 22:57

Town boss Paul Lambert felt the Blues deserved their last-gasp 1-0 FA Cup replay at Lincoln believing they had been the better side in the second half with the Imps having been on top in the first. Lambert also dismissed criticism of his rotation policy and not fielding what is perceived his strongest side in cup ties.

Alan Judge’s injury-time goal, his first for the club, saw Town to their first FA Cup victory since January 2010.

“First half I thought Lincoln were better, second half I thought we were better. Brilliant, kids playing, team was great in the second half, really happy,” Lambert said.

The Blues boss dismissed the suggestion he was expecting extra-time when Judge netted his goal.

“No, best substitution I made in my life, Tommy Hughes!” he joked. “Great. I thought in the second half we were the better team.”

What changed after half-time? “There are things you say to the guys, the pleasing thing is that Brett McGavin played, Idris [El Mizouni] came on again, Tommy Hughes came on, lads coming back from injury, lads coming back from their national teams.

“Doz [Andre Dozzell] didn’t get back until two in the morning and played brilliantly in the second half when he dropped deeper. So there were so many things there.

“Another game for Will [Keane], 90 minutes, Toto [Nsiala] as well. I thought the back two lads were excellent, the back two lads were excellent.

“I thought they deserved the clean sheet. As a team I thought we deserved to go through in the second half. Lincoln had one or two moments.

“I changed the whole team. As I’ve said before, I don’t have a ‘strongest team’. I don’t have a ‘strongest XI’.

“I have belief in everybody to perform, I talk with the medical team who are experts on fitness and muscle injuries and I pick a team that I think lads can get around the pitch.

“And that’s what we’ve done. I’ve said before, football’s changed. It’s not just 18 guys, it’s everybody. All this crap that people have turned around and said about ‘a strongest team’, a lot of shite, that’s what it is, shite.”

Regarding McGavin, who was handed his second senior start having made his debut at Colchester last week, he said: “It’s just a knock, I thought he was excellent in the second half. I thought he was getting better and better as the game wore on.

“We pushed Emyr and Dozzell a little bit forward in the second half and Brett as the sitter was very good. Against Colchester I thought he was excellent and tonight I thought he was getting going in the second half.”

He added: “It shows me that there are good kids here. They need a bit of time to progress. If I don’t believe in them and I don’t try them I’ll never know.

“Players like Brett and Tommy Hughes and Idris and Dobra and all the kids that have come through, it might just save the club a few million pound.”

Regarding Judge’s goal, ending a 46-game drought for club and country, Lambert said: “Long overdue, I think he knows that himself. Again, he was another one just back from international duty.

"It’s tough when you come back from your national team, it’s really, really tough. But I’m delighted for him to score a goal, so I’m happy for him.”

Lambert felt Keane was another to improve after the break: “Second half I thought he grew into it as well, I thought the whole team grew in the second half.

“In the first half I thought Lincoln were better than us without us ever looking like we were going to concede. Lincoln had more of the ball than I would have liked. In the second half I thought we dominated it.”

The Blues manager was pleased that Keane, Nsiala and Huws had got another game under their belts as they continue their progress after their spells on the sidelines.

“It’s great, we spoke the other day with the lads about how many minutes they played,” he added. “Last year this football club had some guys playing 2,000 minutes, some playing 300 minutes.

“As I said before, it’s unfair and people who don’t know the game, who don’t have a clue about keeping people fit, that’s what annoys me.

“But everybody’s game time is really getting there. I trust every one of them to perform. I don’t have any favourites, I don’t have any guys that I think are more important than others. We’re a team.

“The football club’s going to a helluva good place, the support coming all this way on a Wednesday night is fabulous.”

Looking ahead to the round two tie against Coventry at St Andrew’s a week on Sunday with a 2pm kick-off, he added: “The cup’s a good competition. We go and try and win. The league’s the most important thing. Let’s see what happens.”

Photo: TWTD

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44_not_out added 23:10 - Nov 20
Careful Paul. Some of the snowflakes get a bit sensitive when the Manager swears

BurleysGloryDays added 23:30 - Nov 20
Glad Lambo has twotted some sections of ITFC press and so called columnists with this interview.

They deserved it. What a load of nonsense they’ve written over the last couple of weeks. Clueless.

Thankfully we have a boss who’s leagues ahead. Keep going Lambo, 99.9% of us RIGHT behind you pal, you’re the best thing that’s happened to Town in nearly 20 years.

Us fans to stick together through thick and thin ahead, ups and downs. COYB

RobsonWark added 00:36 - Nov 21
But you still pick your favourite useless player that you are soooooooooo afraid to drop just like all the previous managers he has brought down at this club - CHAMBERS!!!

ITFCsince73 added 07:00 - Nov 21
Burnley’s glory days. Reading comments on TWTD over past weeks. It’s questionable weather it comes from real town fans or not. Some of it astounding.
So many just hoping for us to fail....truly staggering.

Edmundo added 07:29 - Nov 21
Some big pluses: Jusge played and scored. Huws got another game in his legs. We played lots of home grown youngsters. And WE WON AN FA CUP TIE!!!

Dissboyitfc added 07:30 - Nov 21
Watch us put in an inept first 45 on saturday, the chopping and changing and the breaks are not helping!

Nearly at the halfway stage in the season and as of yet, there has not been one good performance over90 minutes. that is down to the confusion caused by the squad rotation and the un needed breaks!

Radlett_blue added 08:42 - Nov 21
“I changed the whole team. As I’ve said before, I don’t have a ‘strongest team’. I don’t have a ‘strongest XI’.
So when you make 11 changes for Saturday Paul, it won't be your "strongest team" against Blackpool?

jonnysuave added 09:38 - Nov 21
Not wanting to blow my own trumpet, but like to think my letter to the club complaining about our lack of respect for the cup may have made a small contribution to this.

He is being unnecessarily defensive and do wonder if he is having to cover for a command from above about ensuring promotion is all we focus on.

Opinion naturally will vary on how the club approach this. Personally I believe a good cup run can only help the progress being made with the fan and club relationship.

trncbluearmy added 10:05 - Nov 21
Bet he has his strongest team out on Saturday

Only one person speaking "shhe" here

trncbluearmy added 10:10 - Nov 21
Managers really don't like fans having opinions do they?
That worked really well for mccarthy

BurleysGloryDays added 10:11 - Nov 21
ITFCsince73 - I agree, I think TWTD does have a bit of a trolling problem, and there is also a small, very small group of fans that probably passionately support the team - but aren’t quite bright enough to understand the need for a professional football club to have a strategy to be successful On the pitch and viable off it.

Last night Lambo’s lineup was what we should be calling “a smart gamble”. Smart because it continues to build players, assets, and his understanding of what’s still needed. A gamble, because we might’ve lost. If we had lost, I’d still have supported him 100%. And his rotation policy.

The only critics of rotation I’ll listen to is if you’ve personally managed a football club in league one and earned promotion, without a rotation policy. I doubt that manager exists.

BettyBlue added 10:24 - Nov 21
I'm not a professional football manager but even I know that having your first team sitting on their arses for three weeks isn't the best preparation for two important games.

I predict those results will back me up. Lambert is full of hot air.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 10:40 - Nov 21
He is clearly thinking beyond this season, talking about building a team from our own resources.
He knows what he is doing, he has a plan, we either trust him or not.
I like having hope for the future and pride returned to my club.

In Lambo I trust.

ITFCsince73 added 10:47 - Nov 21
Well said Ipswicholdboy.

trncbluearmy added 10:59 - Nov 21
Limited rotation fine but is wholesale necessary?
It has led to a unnecessary midweek games,avoidable away fixtures, backlog, key players not playing for weeks and fans questioning the strategy.


Miles added 12:07 - Nov 21
The rotation policy will really benefit us in the last 3rd of the season when other teams are running out of legs and our lot will still have plenty to give.

norfolkbluey added 12:26 - Nov 21
Absolutely right Miles. We are still up there despite the rotation but PL is building a young side with a few old hands to guide them to greatness. Exactly what we need as a recovering team low in confidence. I will say that it is time our forwards start scoring a few more goals. It is a bit unnerving winning by a single goal for the fans but as long as we keep winning it's okay but the washing machine at home is getting a hammering!!

SamsDad added 12:53 - Nov 21
Some of the comments not just on this thread. There is someone on the thread with the team news yesterday wanting PL out ( the first comment saying it, I think the rest are sarcastic).

We are 2nd in the league with 2 games in hand on everyone, still in the 2 cups (we'll forget the Carabao Cup!), how can it be that bad??

While I'm having a moan does anybody really believe that PL is going to come out in public and say X is in my best team or Y is not in my best team. Of course hes not, hes going to manage it because he is a manager.

DifferentGravy added 13:26 - Nov 21
Burleysglorydays et al.......I wouldnt know if there is a trolling issue on this site. However, i am of the regular commentors who felt that resting players for 18 days was a bad idea. There was a perfect opportunity to play a stronger side in the home cup game, win and still rest players. Having played football, i can appreciate how quickly a player loses their fitness/sharpness.

This website affords us to voice our opinion. From my point of view, if it is done in a fair and balanced way then i dont see a problem. But as you know, football is a passionate game that brings out the good....and bad in people. If we didnt give our views and just supported the club, regardless of the direction we were going.....then we would still be slip sliding further down the leagues. So (constructive) criticism is not always a bad thing.

I am absolutely chuffed with the position Town are in and the effect Lambert has had across the club.....but i still feel Lambert was wrong to rest players for so long....unnecessary. When the fringe players have stepped in we have had some awful games this season, been lucky to win, draw or been soundly beaten (gillingham/ac stanley/rotherham, lincoln, colchester etc)

It has opened my eyes to the bigger picture. The fact that this could have a positive impact for the future. The fringe players/youngsters have had ample game time, they have been made to feel part of the team....not just the squad or club. Lambert has given them confidence by doing so and solidified the unity within the club. Just watching the highlights from last night and seeing the goal celebrations proved this. The players have the opportunity to improve and are more inclined to stay with the team.

I just hope that when it really matters(and there will be some games which we HAVE to win), Lambert plays his best eleven.......as inferring that he doesnt have a 'best' line up is purely for the media and the confidence of the players. Who would you rather have.......Vincent Young and Garbutt.....or Donacien and Kenlock defending against Peterboroughs attack.

Come on you blues!

fringe players/youngsters have played a good amount of


tractorboybig added 15:15 - Nov 21
paul...as I saw it you have holy to thank to have avoided a heavy dereat???

maninashed added 16:18 - Nov 21
I think PL is really looking to the future. If wants and needs to give young and current fringe players game time the consequence is that the 'first' team players will not play. I am not sure how good or bad the rotation policy really is. However it is unlikely that Brett McGavin would have been risked to start in a League game. PL is certainly learning about the young players more quickly than if he given them a few minutes at the end of a game as per MM, and then drop them because they never changed the result of the game. Think Jack Marriott for example.


BettyBlue added 16:57 - Nov 21
What a load of nonsense. No-one is learning anything about our youngsters by playing a few in a reserve team who has never seen each other..

Stick one or two in the first team and see how they do.
ref: Beattie, Wark, Burley, Osman etc......

BurleysGloryDays added 18:28 - Nov 21
DifferentGravy, thanks for your response.

I have to say though, in the spirit of good robust debate on this matter and with respect, that I think it takes some real self belief to suggest you think it's 'wrong' for Lambert to have rested the players.

I agree that when you don't play you lose sharpness. But these guys aren't playing once a weekend with training on a Tuesday night. They're professionals. It's their lives. They've not gone 17 days without kicking a ball. They've trained nearly every day. And so, to me (and to Lambert obviously) it's incredible that you could think Lambert, who has played professional football all his life before at a top level, then managed with an incredible CV, hasn't considered this. Of course he has.

So I'm railing against (and so is Lambert) anyone criticising without respecting his intelligence and experience.

I fully welcome intelligent criticism. I would much rather see people expend their efforts trying to understand just why it will be so important to have a fresh squad not only in the next three games - which are important - but the next two months. The Christmas fixture list is incredibly tough. And the other teams will be more tired going into it. At least one other poster has pointed this out, kudos to them.

Instead of questioning a top pro manager with an observation that's unfortunately obvious and simple ("they'll lack sharpness"), I'd encourage you to use that critical thinking to delve into the reasons for the decision, what he's been doing to mitigate that, and how he'll respond based on what he's seeing every day - and we're not seeing every day.

Our season isn't defined by the next 3 important games. It's the next 30 odd.

That's what Lambert is using his strategy to work towards.

And don't get me wrong. Some managers are really thick and this might be a fair(er) question to level. But Lambert is not in that category, at all.

He demands, and in my opinion fully deserves, respect.

The Budgies up the road didn't give it to him after he got them promoted and kept them in the Prem.

We're a better club than that.


Dissboyitfc added 18:58 - Nov 21
Burleyglorydays.... give an example of a good performance after an international break please, (have we ever even won after a international break) give me an example of a game when we have been good for the 90 minutes this season?

Saturday must surely be a nailed on win in your eyes then, players refreshed raring to go with a sharpness that 18 days rest can only bring. But i suspect its more likely they will look like strangers again for the first 45.

We are second top in the third tier of english football, quite frankly a very poor standard compared to the championship, without playing well, had loads of luck and had we have been playing sides with a little more quality many of the games we went on to win would have ben lost by half time!

If after saturdays game we win and play well, i will admit to being wrong! If i am right however how many will admit they were wrong? not many i suspect!

I hate the needless postponement and the rotation policy! How many changes do Liverpool or man city make in league matches? these teams have real quality in depth 2 or 3 internationals in most positions.


SamsDad added 19:30 - Nov 21
At the end of the day what happens on Saturday is going to make or break either side of this argument, but in my view Burleys last post is excellently put.

If the international break is such an issue why is everybody else in the top 2 divisions not having the same problem? Surely if it breaks the rhythm or whatever it would do it to everyone. I know what our record is but can it not just be coincidence?

To say calling off is pointless is just flat wrong in my view. We were due to play Wycombe & Oxford, the team currently top and the team currently top of the form league. I have said it before but really you wanted to play those games without a number of our players. Its just a no brainer.

Dissboy you don't need to apologise for your opinion but those of us that don't agree with it don't need to either!

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