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Lambert: Great Football for 45 Minutes But the Game is About Winning
Friday, 13th Dec 2019 13:48

Town may have played their best football of the season in the first half of the 1-1 League One draw at Coventry last Saturday but manager Paul Lambert says that counted for nothing as the Blues didn’t claim all three points.

While pleased with the display in the first 45 minutes in which his side passed the ball around slickly and created a number of very good chances in addition to Will Keane’s headed goal, he says winning is ultimately all that matters.

“Yeah, but we didn’t get the result, we drew,” he said when asked about the performance.

“The game is about winning. You have to win games. You have titles or trophies. It’s great playing football, great, lovely, looks great to the eye, but you’ve got to win, and that’s the nature of the game.

“The nature of the game is about winning and if somebody said to me you don’t play well and you win I’d take it and move on.

“We played good for 45 minutes but the game lasts 90 minutes, and some of the football was excellent, we could have been three or four-up, I don’t think anybody would have begrudged us that, but at the end of the day you have to win, you’ve got to win.

“We’ve been playing really well, we’ve been relentless with the intensity. Tuesday night there was no intensity in our game, but in every other game there’s been intensity, but you can’t play well for 45 minutes and only go in 1-0 up.”

Was the the style which the team played in the first half the sort of football you ultimately want them to be playing all the time?

“You need winning football, that’s the game,” he reiterated. “There’s two different ways.


“People are caught in the perception of Pep Guardiola’s football. He’s a world-class manager, I’ve met him, unbelievable what he did with Barcelona, unbelievable what he did with Man City, one of the best things to come into the Premier League.

“And the players that he had to do it were unbelievable and the system and how he did it was unbelievable.

“People try and copy it and here’s a good idea, try and get the same amount of players that they’ve got, the top ones.

“You can’t do it, it’s impossible. You look at Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.

“The football is totally different. It’s a totally different game. They go intensity. The press, the speed, two totally different components of how to play football.

“But I’ll guarantee if you sit and listen to the two of them they’ll say it’s about winning, regardless of how you do it, you can’t copy it you have to go with what you think.

“So, this perception of playing out from the back is brilliant, really, really good if you can get it done. Possession at the top end of the pitch is another brilliant way of playing football, but it’s eras and perception, there’s no right way and wrong way to play football.”

Does that sort of display not ending in victory make him look at playing more pragmatically? “We have to win. We have to win regardless of how we do it. The fans want to see exciting football, but nobody will thank me for playing 55 passes at the back and going nowhere.

“That’s not the game. The game is to score more than the opposition, that’s the game. And as I’ve said there’s no right way and wrong way to play football, but you have to try and win regardless of how you do it.

“So, the guys we’ve got have given us everything in the last year and we try and go and win regardless of how we do it. Whether it’s with pure, hectic intensity football, whether it’s possession-based football, there’s no right way or wrong way. Fans want to see goals.

So there’s no particular Paul Lambert style he is aspiring to play? “I wouldn’t like to play football and come away and get beat all the time, and then people say that’s Paul Lambert’s style, getting beat all the time.

“That’s not what the game is about. You go out to win. You can’t come off the pitch and go we played great, but we lost. That only softens the blow.

“The main thing is about trying to win. Professional sport is about winning. It’s not about being second or third. It’s about winning.

“As I said before, it’s how you portray it, whether you play with intensity or hectic football. You look at any league in the world, and everybody has their own style of playing. Leipzig are intense, unbelievably intense football. Bayern will keep the ball, but Leipzig are top of the table.

“Liverpool are top of the table through pure intensity and really good play, Man City are possession-based, Leicester City are doing really well. Every team has their own way of playing, but every manager will tell you that you’ve got to try and win with it regardless of how you’re playing.”

Last Saturday’s Coventry game wasn’t the only time Town’s performances have differed greatly in each half, although usually it’s been the second period which has been better than the first. Is that difference in performance between halves a frustration?

“No, because you can only play against what’s in front of you,” he reflected. “The opposition are going to have an impact on that. They’re not going to sit and allow you the ball all the time and let you play how you want.

“They’ll change their way as well. We have to adapt to that when teams change when we have so much dominance of the game, so an opposition isn’t going to let you do what you want, never in a million years.

“If someone is giving me the runaround I’m pretty sure I’m going to come out in the second half and do something about it. That’s the way the game works.”


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BarleyBoy added 14:22 - Dec 13
Indeed Mr L, we do have to adapt mid-game if opponents change to address our dominance.........what we do must be orchestrated by you, the players can’t necessarily work it out themselves as they should be trying to execute your original instructions......it’s your job as mgr to influence tactically & I’m afraid this would appear to now becoming under more forensic scrutiny. Our adaptability would be a dam sight easier with a settled 1st XI being selected
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