Lambert: Were There Some Harsh Words There? Yes, But Not Over the Top
Sunday, 29th Dec 2019 20:06
Town boss Paul Lambert kept his squad in the dressing room for an hour after the Blues’ 5-3 defeat at Lincoln City for a meeting in which he said there were some “home truths” told.
The media were kept waiting until 6pm to speak to Lambert following the Blues’ third defeat in four league games.
“They started better than us,” Lambert reflected on the match. “They got a good goal [from their perspective] but it was from our throw-in, which was the disappointing thing.
“We started to play and got a grip of the game and Luke Garbutt scored a really good freekick. I thought that was what we deserved in the first half, I thought we were right in the game.
“Then we lost a really poor goal towards the end, one long ball and Will [Norris] got caught, maybe by his own admission he should have stayed on his line.
“But I would never criticise Will Norris as he’s been excellent for us. But those things happen, [and it] gave them the impetus in the second half.”
At 2-2 in the second half Town had again got a foothold in the game but let it slip, which Lambert said was the biggest frustration.
“That was the thing, that was the disappointing thing,” he added. “We came out and we got the equaliser and that that point you think it’s going to go either way.
“Again we had a throw-in on the left side, we never got hold of the ball. And then they scored to make it 3-2, then it went to 4-2, then we go back in and got another to make if 4-3. The fifth goal, we put everybody forward and we tried to get an equaliser.
“To lose five goals when we didn’t even look like losing a goal [in games earlier in the season], we have to get back to that. And [we shouldn’t be] scoring three goals away from home and still losing.
He added: “We have been pretty solid over most of the season but you can’t score three goals and lose five away from home, that’s too much.”
Regarding the meeting after the game, he said: “We just spoke in there, no raised voices or anything like that, but maybe some home truths and a lot of things like that.
“The guys are good. I cannot fault their effort. Were there some harsh words there? Yes, but not over the top where it becomes mayhem.”
Did the players have their say as well as him? “You have a relationship with the guys, they’re good guys. If you go in there in a crazed frenzy then people can be frightened or switch off, there are some young guys in there, 18, 19, 20-year-olds.
“It’s part of the game, it’s part of their upbringing and if you go in there and rant and rave I’m not so sure they’ll take it in. It was a meeting that hopefully will be beneficial.”
Asked whether there are enough leaders or characters in his squad, he said: “I think you’ve got to step up to the plate now, I think you’ve got to step up regardless of whether you’re 18 or 19, you’ve got to step up to the plate, I think that’s important.
“Some of them are young, some are older and quiet, different personalities but you can have a different personality and be quiet but you can also be pretty nasty with it.”
Is that the type of player he might need to add to his squad in January? “I always think if you’re 19 or 20, played in 100-odd games, you’ve always got to have that desire, hunger, the eye of the tiger, the normal things of football.
“I was never 6ft 3in myself, never built massively but to beat me you had to go some and that’s what you try and instil in the guys. And we have to get that back.”
Town were without Cole Skuse and Jon Nolan due to knocks, Lambert confirmed: “Cole hurt his neck against Gillingham and he woke up the other morning with wry neck, he couldn’t turn his neck, he was robotic.
“Nolo hurt his foot against Portsmouth and it was showing because his coverage of the football pitch was well down, so he was struggling.”
In their absence Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes started in the middle of midfield and Lambert felt they did some aspects of the game well despite the scoreline.
“I thought they were good,” he said. “They’re really, really good footballers, the guys, really, really good. Again, they need to step up to the plate, even though they’re young kids.
“I thought football-wise, passing, really good, really happy with the two kids. I don’t have a problem with that but the actual devilment, as I call it, to be nasty, to win things, win big trophies or titles or be champions, you have to have a little bit of a streak in you.”
Janoi Donacien limped off towards the end of the first half with an injury which had hampered him for much of the half.
“I think the guy’s head hit his knee, the back of his head has hit knee and so we’ll need to see how he is,” Lambert said.
Questioned on how worrying he feels the current run - seven league games without a win and no victories over 90 minutes in the last 10 in all competitions - he said: “Any run when you don’t win, even when you lose two it’s worrying. Do you know what the craziest thing is, we’re still in that bloody position, we’re still up there.
“I think Wycombe lost and Peterborough lost today, I think it’s going to go that way all the time. We’re having a run now which nobody wants but we’re still well in that mix.
“Everybody has to accept we’re going to lose games at competition level, you’re going to lose. OK, we lose but you have to try put it right as quick as you can. But you also have to concentrate on all the good things that have put you in this position.
“It can’t just be negative, negative, negative, it’s not good for anybody. Not good for anybody at the club, anybody that supports the club. You have to concentrate on good moments.
“But this is the time where you need everybody to group together and make sure that you become really, really watertight.”
At the end some fans reacted angrily towards Lambert as he went over to applaud them, something he says he understands.
“That’s football,” he said. “They’ve come in their thousands to watch, which is great. I’d never really criticise any supporters because they come and pay their money and for me I’ve played with massive clubs, I know what it’s like. I’ve played with clubs where you’re only as good as your last pass.
“For the young guys, they need the help from the supporters, and hopefully at the end of the season we can give them something to enjoy. but you take the upper cut that’s coming in your direction at the minute.”
He says it’s far from the first time he’s been on the end of criticism: “It’s not the first time and it’s not going to be the last. As I said before, I played with huge, worldwide renowned clubs where you’re only as good as your last pass.
“Me and the staff we try and help them the best that we can. People think the game is about managers. It’s not about managers, the game’s about players and supporters and that’s what people want to see.
“What I will do is stick with the players, they’ve given me absolutely everything in their bodies to do things right, for me no problem.”
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