Lambert: Evans Realistic About Where Club Is
Friday, 10th Jan 2020 13:40
Blues manager Paul Lambert says owner Marcus Evans’s article for tomorrow’s match programme shows that has a realistic view of where the club is at present.
Evans has written a lengthy piece outlining why he gave Lambert a four-year extension to his contract, which now runs to 2025, and his thoughts on the club's philosphy going forwards with a stated aim to become a more technical team in the years to come.
"It’s great words all that, isn’t it?” Lambert joked. “I think there’s a realism from him on where the club’s at and what we’re doing and the challenges that are here.
“He asked he would I do [extend the contract] a few months ago because at that time I only had a year left after this summer.
“And he asked me if I would stay longer and I said yes, it’s a lovely club, and here are my points where I think what’s right and what’s wrong with it and let's see how it goes.”
Evans talked about aiming to take a more "technical approach", something which Town have shown periodically in Lambert’s time here. How long before that’s instilled into the team on a more regular basis?
“We’ll try everything and they’re still developing some of them, the older lads are probably at the wrong age of 30, and you can never defeat time, that’s always going to be there, and that has to change at some point,” Lambert said.
“Once that decision comes that you have to retire it isn’t great, but you have to get your head around it and then you finish, and then the future generations take it on.
“So there’s got to be that balance of playing a style of football and trying to get a winning style because winning is what people want to see if you can. If you do it with a bit of style then great but predominantly people come to see you win.”
Does he believe he has the players that can play that more technical style that Evans is aiming for, that he doesn’t need to go out and build a new squad?
“You need a bit of help without a doubt because a lot of the lads are young,” he added. “A lot of the lads are at a football club where the history is high, the expectancy level is high, and a lot of them are not used to playing that type of football and having that weight on their shoulders.
“As I said before, if it was that easy Sunderland would have done it last year, and the weight of the club, you’ve got to be able to take that weight, and some of them are young and are doing it and even some of the older ones, they’re not used to that ‘we’ve to win a title, we’ve got to win a title’. It’s all new for them.
“For me, I was used to it, so the pressure doesn’t really affect me as such, but I’m not the most important, the most important is the guys and the team, they’re the ones that need a help with it, and they have to handle that expectancy level through experience and through always taking the ball, never hide from the ball, that’s my biggest thing, never ever hide from the ball.”
Despite the recent downturn which has seen them slip to fifth, Lambert says promotion this season remains the target.
“We have to try and get up as quick as we can,” he added. “We’ll try everything we’ve got this year to get up as quick as we can.
“What we want to do, myself and the staff, as I said before, is whenever we leave here is to leave the club in a lot better place.
“And the club’s come a long way in [the time we’ve been here] with the support and everything coming back and some people reconnecting with the club, that was a big thing.
“But then you have to have success with that or try and have success with that and try and make people enjoy coming to the stadium.”
Asked where he saw the club in five years’ time, Lambert hesitated to commit himself.
“Flipping heck. Five years’ time,” he considered. “It’s a hard question that because nobody knows.
“We could be in the Premier League in two years, we could be in the Premier League in three years, and nobody knows what’s going to happen it’s a difficult question.
“As long as the club keeps moving in the direction it’s moving in and with that crowd coming back, those supporters coming back.
“As I said before, that was the biggest thing for me was that support coming back. I remember watching it, 12,000 they were having here who weren’t doing anything, just watching football passing by.
“Now it’s different, the whole feeling is different, so I’d rather have that than play in front of 12 or 13,000.
“We have to try and give them something to get right behind us and the majority have been and they’ve been brilliant. But if this club can make headway in the league and make headway in the next league it could be unbelievable it really could.”
But whatever happens it will be out of League One in five years’ time? “I certainly bloody hope so, dear oh dear. I think if there is that time, you look at Sheffield United. It’s crazy how football works.”
Looking to the short-term, despite current form, Lambert says the team need the fans onside with there having been the first signs of frustration with his management in recent weeks.
“It’s football. It’s universal. I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve done it since I was 15, I’ve played in huge clubs in front of 90,000 people 100,000 people, go to one of those stadiums and you see the white handkerchiefs come out then it’s a bit of pressure.
“For me, this is no problem, for the young guys it can become a problem. The players need their help and to be fair, the minority will have their wee dig at it, but the majority understand where the club is at.”
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