Lambert: No Complaints, We Didn't Do Enough
Tuesday, 28th Jan 2020 23:19
Town boss Paul Lambert had no complaints about the Blues 1-0 defeat at Rotherham which, along with Wycombe’s 2-1 home win over Blackpool, has seen Town drop to third in League One. The Blues boss added that he didn't expect to be handed any of the Bartosz Bialkowski cash ahead of Friday's transfer deadline.
“It wasn’t great on the eye football-wise, but we lost the game,” Lambert said. “I’ve got no complaints, I don’t think we did enough to win the game other than the last 15 or 20 minutes when I thought we started to get a grip of the game but the ball was more in the air than on the ground.
“They’re stronger than us physically. Set plays, freekicks, corners come into your box and they’re effective at what they do. I was disappointed that it was a set play that hurt us.”
The Blues midfield never gained control of the game and dominated possession in the manner they have in recent weeks and Lambert says it was never going to be that sort of match.
“There was no chance it was ever going to be that type of game,” he said. “It was always going to be that type, in the air, the way Rotherham play. But credit to them, they do it well.”
Was it a deliberate tactic to play a lot of balls over the top for Kayden Jackson to chase? “No, it wasn’t. We tried to play, I said to try and play football against it because it’s going to come on top of you all the time, don’t get caught up in playing the same because it’s not going to benefit us. No, that wasn’t the tactic, that was just the way the game materialised.”
Despite having been second best for the most part, the Blues almost grabbed a late equaliser with Luke Garbutt forcing Millers keeper Daniel Iversen to make an impressive save from a freekick and sub James Norwood hitting the post from what seemed to be an impossible angle.
“I know and then it just wasn’t our night, he reflected. “I thought Norwood did well when he came on. He was a bit more lively than he has been. Garbutt’s freekick, he’s always going to hit the target but it wasn’t enough.”
Lambert says the pattern of the game went as he anticipated: “I didn’t expect anything different. We spoke about it yesterday in the build-up to the game - it’s going to come in the box, the ball will be more times in the air then on the ground.
“And that’s the way it went. It was just a set play which hurt us but we had a chance to equalise at the death.”
Reflecting on what was a frantic first half, he said: “I don’t think we took the ball at the back as well as we have been. That for me was the one thing we should have done better.
“In the second half it was only in the last 15 or 20 minutes when we started to get a grip of it and might have got an equaliser at the end.”
Town were unchanged for the third match running but Lambert says he didn’t consider making switches with the Blues in good form: “No, not really. You guys moan when you rotate, what do you want to do?
“No, the team was playing well, it’s still playing well so there was never any need for me to change anything.”
However, like other managers he believes there is too much football: “There are too many games, everybody’s complaining, Klopp, Guardiola. Everybody’s complaining there are too many games. Replays and whatever, it’s a nonsense, there are too many games. It’s not good for anybody.”
Emyr Huws was subbed having picked up a knock in the second half but Lambert says it’s not related to the knee problem which saw the Welshman miss a season and a half of football.
“It’s a different injury, it’s not his knee, it’s his ankle,” he said. “There are one or two little knocks in there, which you’d expect after a game like that.”
Asked whether he’ll look at changes ahead of the weekend, he added: “I don’t know, I’ll see how they are. I’ll see how the guys are, they’ve been in great form since January, we’ll have to wait and see how they are.”
Missing from the 18 was recent signing Josh Earl, who suffered an injury in training. Lambert says the staff are not yet sure whether it’s serious or a more minor problem.
“We don’t know,” he said. “He got a knock yesterday in training and he’ll get a scan tomorrow and we’ll see how he is.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s home match against Peterborough, he said: “That’ll be another hard game, but we’re at home and the form’s been good.
“I wasn’t too disappointed tonight, OK, I’m disappointed to lose, the game was what it was, it was never going to be a purist’s football match, we just get ready, we go again tomorrow and we’ll see during the rest of the week.”
Does he worry that other sides will take a similar approach to Rotherham in future matches? “I don’t think there are too many teams that play like that in the league or as good as that in the league with the physicality that they’ve got. I don’t think we’ll come across that too many times.”
Yesterday saw keeper Bialkowski’s permanent move to Millwall completed with the Blues believed to have received an initial fee likely to have been in the £500,000 to £600,000 range with the Poland international’s former club Notts County receiving a sell-on fee of £30,000.
However, Lambert says he’ll not be getting that cash to spend on additions before Friday’s 11pm deadline.
“We won’t get that,” he said. “As I said before, that’s not going to come back in, it’s over a period of time. We don’t have the money to go and spend.”
Asked if he expects there to be any additions before Friday’s deadline, he added: “Not if we’ve no money, we can’t.
“Might I get someone in on loan? Not unless something comes up then [owner] Marcus [Evans] might say ‘OK, it’s feasible to do it’. But we can’t go out and get anybody. We’ll need to see.
“But again, you’re getting people that teams don’t want, guys that aren’t fit, that’s the problem in January.”
If he still has the same squad after the deadline will he be happy? “I’m delighted with the guys. We’re in a good position, we’re in good form. OK, tonight we lost but the team could have been a draw at the end of it.”
Questioned on whether there had been any interest in any of his players with Blackpool having been linked with Jon Nolan, Lambert said: “It doesn’t make sense. There’s nobody going to go. I’ve not heard anything from any manager. If I hear from a manager then it’s different but I’ve not heard from any manager.”
He added: “As I said before, you end up getting players that teams don’t want and you’ve got to get them fit. That’s the problem with the January window.”
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