Lambert Proud of Players
Wednesday, 4th Dec 2019 23:14
Town boss Paul Lambert was proud of his players both young and more experienced after their on-penalties Leasing.com Trophy win at Peterborough.
“Proud of them all, the experienced guys that played and the kids that played, the young kids on the bench. It was fantastic, it really was,” he said.
What pleased him most about the performance? “Everything, the mentality, the preparation, the handling of it, the team that Peterborough had out, they had a strong bench, and we dealt with it.
“We didn’t have one centre-half apart from young Hendo [debutant Alex Henderson] and he’s just finished his Farley Rusks.
“Myles [Kenlock] went into centre-back, young Tommy Smith came on, Barry [Cotter] did well, all the guys, I couldn’t ask for more.”
“I saw him for about 20 minutes in the game the other day and I just liked his attitude and the way he went about it and I thought in the second half he was outstanding.”
Reflecting further on his young back four, which had an average age of 19 in the second half, the Town manager added: “Really proud of the guys. There wasn’t really a recognised centre-half other than young Hendo and that was his first real game in earnest. He only played men’s football at the weekend for the first time in his career [for Bury Town where he is on loan] and he came into that environment.
“I thought as the game went on he was excellent, he made some great tackles, threw his body into things and did really well. If you look at the team, I thought they were excellent, they really were.”
Regarding Smith, who is also on loan at Bury, he added: “Excellent, really good, really pleasing. As I said, they’re only kids, they need time to develop and the club can’t buy in the way it has done in the years gone by, it can’t do it, so we have to rely on these guys and wait for them to come through. But given time, if they get nurtured right, they will go on to be strong Ipswich players.
“It bodes well for the future, if the football club sticks with the policy, as it has to, and people give them time and don’t expect miracles because it’s just one little step towards being a footballer.”
Asked whether his team practiced penalties going into the match, Lambert said: “It doesn’t matter how many penalties you hit in training, it’s a different smell, a different feeling, different stadium, the crowd behind the goal.
“They did what I asked of them in the shoot-out. It’s just about having confidence and going up there and striking it.”
There were no shortage of hands raised when he asked who wanted to take a kick at the end of the 90 minutes.
“Yes, but I think you’re going to get that anyway,” the Blues boss continued. “You’re going to get one or two who maybe don’t to hit them, which is totally understandable, then guys who hit them and hopefully they do go in. The penalties were a really high standard and Adam produced two good saves.”
Lambert said he was impressed by keeper Przybek’s senior debut display: “Yes, but it would be unfair to single out anybody because the team and everybody in the group was excellent.”
Did he want to have a look at the Welsh international due to his concerns that Will Norris might be recalled by Wolves in January? “People have to understand that when you have loan players people can go back. You’ve got to have one eye on it and think outside the box on the ‘what-if’ scenario.
“And that’s the position we’re in as a football club. Not a great position to be in because Will Norris has been brilliant for us, so has Tomas Holy and Adam’s proved to me in that game there that with a wee bit of time, let’s see what he’s got.”
Cotter hit the winning penalty in a typically confident manner on his 21st birthday but it was another spotkick which particularly took his manager’s eye.
“Myles’s penalty, dear oh dear! Myles must be some dancer in a night club,” he joked. “That was John Travolta hitting a penalty. Travolta would have been happy with those hips! That was John Travolta, all he needed was a white suit.
“To be fair, all the penalties were very good. OK, Brett had one saved but the penalties were very, very good.”
Town are now three wins from a Wembley final with the third round draw tomorrow evening at 7.15pm on Sky Sports News.
“I don’t know who we’ll get in the next game, hopefully we’ll get a home game,” Lambert reflected. “We’ve got a lot of games coming up. We seemed to be turning in the results and, as I said, against a really strong team.”
Cotter was making his first senior appearance since April 2018 with the Blues short at right-back since Kane Vincent-Young suffered his groin injury. Has the former Limerick man played himself into his manager’s thoughts?
“Since Kane’s been out Janoi has been fantastic,” Lambert said. “Barry’s shown me what he can do. It’s his first real test rather than U23 football and I thought he did really well. He had cramp in the second half. One game, he did well.”
Cole Skuse made way at half-time for Smith which Lambert said was a precautionary measure: “He just got a little knock up in his hip there, so I wasn’t taking any chances whatsoever there, we’ve got too many knocks at the minute,” he said
Regarding central defender Toto Nsiala, who might have been expected to play, he says the former Shrewsbury man is still not ready after suffering a minor hamstring problem: “He’s getting better, he might train at the end of the week but we’ll see.”
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson was pleased with his team's display, despite the spotkicks defeat.
"It was a very, very good performance, and a performance that deserved to win the game, but unfortunately we just couldn't get that second goal," he told the Peterborough Telegraph.
"We started the game very well, our shape [a switch to 3-5-2 from their usual diamond] caused them lots of problems and we were really getting on top when we lost a soft goal.
"Ricky-Jade Jones then got us back in it, and in the second half we were the dominant team but just couldn't get the winning goal.
"You then go to penalties which are a bit of a lottery, and you just hope for a bit of luck, but unfortunately on the night we didn't get it.
"There were a lot of things I was pleased with. I thought the players were really impressive and when there's not one that didn't play well or above average then as a manager you have to come away pleased.
"We were the better team on the night, but sometimes on the night that is not enough."
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