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Lambert: First Challenge Set Tone of the Game
Saturday, 21st Dec 2019 18:48

Manager Paul Lambert felt one goal was always going to be decisive in the Blues’ 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth and felt former Town striker Ellis Harrison’s yellow card within 15 seconds of the start set the tone for the match.

Ronan Curtis hit the game’s only goal for Pompey in the 50th minute with the Blues, who were later reduced to 10 men after skipper Luke Chambers saw a second yellow card, unable to find an equaliser.

The Blues also face an FA fine after having six players - including Chambers - booked plus assistant manager Stuart Taylor in a game in which referee Brett Huxtable showed 12 yellow cards overall.

“Looking at the game, the way it was going, I always thought one goal was going to be decisive,” Lambert said before moving on to his 38th minute substitution of Toto Nsiala, who had been booked and was in danger of picking up a second yellow card.

“Toto coming off disrupted us a little bit, I had to take him off for obvious reasons. I just think the way the referee was going about it, we didn’t know what way his cards were going to go. So to protect Toto and the team [I subbed him].

“I thought Toto had a good game the time he was on. I didn’t see any problem with his tackling. What set the tone of the game was the first challenge on Luke Chambers, which I thought was a bad one. I just thought some of the decisions were a bit strange.

“We had some good moments with balls coming across the face of the goal, some good play, but they got the decisive goal.”

Did he feel Harrison should have been shown a second yellow card for his challenge on Chambers just before half-time? Was that what he was discussing with referee Huxtable as he made his way off the field?

“It wasn’t that, I didn’t know that it was [Harrison] that made the challenge,” he said.

“What annoyed me was that Luke was between the ball and the player and anybody that knows football knows there’s no way the other player’s going to get that and he puts Luke down, and I think they actually got the throw, which was bizarre.

“And that’s why I thought the referee was uncertain the whole game, I didn’t know what he was going to do. And that’s why I took Toto off. The first challenge in the game certainly set the tone.”

Lambert spoke to Nsiala as he came off to explain the reasoning behind his withdrawal: “I said to him it’s the first time in my management career that I’ve taken someone off thinking, ‘What is the referee going to do here?’. Because the way the game was going, the way the referee was going about it, I wasn’t sure what they’d do with Toto.

“Toto made a really good tackle here on the Portsmouth guy and everybody was up in arms saying it was a freekick, and I think he actually gave it. Then I thought [I’d have to take him off] but his game was good.”

Lambert felt his team were more of a threat in the second half after he had changed the system from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2.

“We did, it’s just not falling for us at that moment but the effort was there, you can’t fault the lads’ effort,” he added. “We have to get back to what we were doing in the first 15 games or so. We’re still in that mix.”

What will get the Blues back to their previous level? “Hard work, sheer graft, that’s what gets you there. Without that, you can have all the ability in the world, it doesn’t matter, if you don’t have the hard work and the graft.

“But the guys, they’re going to have their moments where they come through it. And I said to them, every game you play is going to be a cup final because of the atmospheres in the stadium, everything that goes with it, the expectancy level, you have to rise above it. They know the issues.”

Lambert admits his side have shown less of a goal threat having not scored more than one goal in a match once in their last 13 games in all competitions but says that’s not just down to his strikers.

“It’s not, it’s collectively, the whole thing,” he said. “Everybody’s in it together, which is great, they’re a really good group, a really honest group. You can’t ask any more collectively as a group.

“If you keep the ball out of the net and are scoring, if you do that, then collectively you get the rewards.”

Town have now not won in the league for five matches - their last League One victory was at Rochdale on November 5th - and have lost two in a row in the league for the second time this season. In all competitions, they have failed to win over 90 minutes for eight matches and have lost their last three.

Asked whether he is worried about the current run, Lambert said: “We’ve lost two on the bounce on the league, one in the cup, it’s not something that you want to let prolong.

“We know we have to get back on the rails. We lost two in a row the last time and bounced back, we have to bounce back on Thursday and we have to be more back to what we were in the 15 games before.”

Regarding Chambers’s red card, he added: “I go back to what I said, the first challenge set the tone of the game, and I can’t even remember Luke’s first yellow card.

“The second one, I couldn’t really see with the rain and being that distance away. It’s a blow because we'll miss him for Thursday [when Gillingham visit].”

Town are out of the top two for the first time since August but Lambert isn’t unduly concerned about that at this stage of the season.

“There’s a whole half of the season [to go],” he said. “This time last year Portsmouth were sitting top and never got near it, and that can happen.

“Ipswich will be there or thereabouts, I’ve got no doubt about that. Hopefully we can do it automatically, hopefully we can win it. We’re still a really good side, but you don’t win anything in December.”

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett was pleased with his team's performance and they way they bounced back from last week's surprise 4-1 defeat at Accrington.

"We played very well, I thought it was an excellent game between two good teams," he told the Portsmouth News.

"Probably Ipswich’s strongest spell was after we scored, funnily enough, but it’s good to see us come through it, weather the storm and finish strongly.

"I did feel in terms of the display it was a good one, we brought our crowd into play and they had a sizeable contingent from Ipswich which we kept pretty quiet, which does show the level of performance.

"Ipswich changed it around a few times, which they do, but through the triangle of James Bolton, Ben Close and Andy Cannon it gave us a foothold and our defenders will gain confidence from a clean sheet, we haven’t had enough.

"Last week we were too open, we went up to Accrington and tried to play an open game and blow them away, yet didn't work that way. It was 1-1 at half-time and we went for it second half and they capitalised.

"We needed to adjust today because otherwise you can lose confidence pretty quickly in terms of a run if you cannot get solid and compact. We did that – and it produced a match-winning performance."

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RegencyBlue added 18:50 - Dec 21
You must be the only person who 5hinks Nsiala played well.

He’s a liability and always has been!

MrTown added 18:59 - Dec 21
Back to f*cking basics Lambert, you are doing a great job at c*cking it up for healthy position. We had a formula that was working so well at the start of the season and you started tinkering with something that wasn't broken. Ultimately it would be you who would be your own downfall should things go sour for yourself.

Donacien - Woolfenden - Wilson - Garbutt
Edwards - Skuse - Downes - Sears
Jackson - Norwood

dukey44 added 19:01 - Dec 21
Sorry but bored of hearing lambert now... STOP CHANGING THE TEAM SIMPLE!!!!!

manualthetisfanclub added 19:04 - Dec 21
Blah Blah Blah, same old same old! The lambert bingo team and tactics selection lashed up again! Nobody has a divine right to win each game, but fundamentally if you pick your strongest team, with the right tactic you will give yourself a chance, this guy is clueless!!


Mark added 19:05 - Dec 21
I understand bringing Chambers and Edwards back into defence, but when doing that why also make a THIRD change to the defence by dropping Wilson and bringing in Nsiala? Why take that high risk strategy going into a key game against one of our promotion rivals? It makes no sense to me.

We need to start winning fast, or it will be a second season in League One and that will be a big failure. The fans deserve better.

Bluesaway added 19:06 - Dec 21
Early part of the season Garbutt was in midfield, being creative, and looking a class player in L1. He is average at left back and it is even more bizarre that we don't seem to have anyone as good to play left wing either.

Mark added 19:08 - Dec 21
I should add changing the goalkeeper too. What other professional team keeps changing their goalkeeper like this in league matches? Surely the keeper and defenders need to build an understanding?!

muhrensleftfoot added 19:10 - Dec 21
With the squad we have we should be streets ahead of everyone else in this league. The fact that we are not is down to team selection and tactics, and that is the responsibility of one man. Lambert is great at talking the talk, but I've seen very little to convince me that he is the great messiah. He's been at the club a little over a year and still has everything to prove. Anything other than automatic promotion is a failure with the squad at his disposal.

herfie added 19:13 - Dec 21
PL needs to take some straight talking advice from somebody outside of his immediate coaching circle. Butcher/Burley/Mills come to mind.

SickParrot added 19:17 - Dec 21
Dear Santa, Please could I have a pair of Mr Lambert's rose coloured spectacles and a win on boxing day. Also could you please give Mr Lambert some common sense and the humility to admit that his rotation policy is a big mistake.

bluesince76 added 19:19 - Dec 21
Fed up of Lambert now all talk but doesn't deliver not getting best out of squad has had plenty of time to get it right time to get burley back

soclopath added 19:43 - Dec 21
We all know he's Scottish but forever he sounds "Normal for Norfolk".

LWNR2013 added 19:47 - Dec 21
I buy this assessment by PL. Too much negativity from radio fans 👍

LWNR2013 added 19:48 - Dec 21
...does anyone still use radios?

martin587 added 19:52 - Dec 21
Paul I think your team selection set the tone I’m afraid.Please don’t keep chopping and changing the team.They play like strangers.I rest my case.

tractorollson added 20:37 - Dec 21
PL struggled at Villa and Stoke, im starting to think he may have ran out of ideas with us! Our season is falling ..

BlueNomad added 21:04 - Dec 21
The team need to take responsibility for today. Whatever the formation etc you need to pass accurately and win the second balls. We did neither today.

Toto was not awful. He had Harrison all over him and was more sinned against than sinning. Harrison was lucky to last on the pitch more than a minute

Start Jackson every game. He was our biggest threat when he came on.

tractorboy2421 added 21:30 - Dec 21
Hahahaha, Nsilia disrupted us a bit..... Not only is Lambert tactically clueless - he actually thinks that donkey is a good footballer. We are fast becoming an easy 3 pointer team to play against. Sad times

EssexTractor added 21:40 - Dec 21
Blame the opposition, blame the media..any personal doubts PL?

PL win percentage as ITFC Manager 27%


Taricco_Fan added 21:49 - Dec 21
Just get back to 4-4-2 and a settled line-up. It worked well for us those first couple of months of the season. It may not be the formation of choice for the hipsters but all that matters is getting out of this division.


shakytown added 22:28 - Dec 21
There is only one major problem at the club Lambert and it's you. Constant tinkering with the side and playing people out of position NEVER works. Time for a massive rethink of tactics on your behalf or you won't be here soon.

Reuserscurtains added 01:00 - Dec 22

stevieg added 05:27 - Dec 22
Paul I think you need a little help to coin a phrase

harlingblue added 05:45 - Dec 22
Ellis stated his case in the first minute, and caused havoc to our defence. He was never given a real chance at ITFC! He stamped his mark on the game, we never recovered.
We have a lightweight team for this Division, with no real target man that requires two defenders to mark them, to allow other attacking players to create.
PL seems good at PR skills but lacking in the skills to create a successful team.


Philpomr added 06:31 - Dec 22
Fed-up with how things are going with town.
Just play the best 11 in 4/4/2 formation.
Keep those players week in week out.
Stop fn it up!!!
It Div 1 not the Prem
And yes surprise, surprise the Ref and linos are crap too!


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