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Lambert: We Dominated the Game But We've Got to Be More Ruthless
Tuesday, 11th Feb 2020 23:33

Town boss Paul Lambert rued his side’s failure to take their chances as they drew 0-0 away at AFC Wimbledon. The Blues saw most of the ball throughout the match but were unable to take a number of opportunities.

“We dominated the game, finishing again [was the problem], the same as Saturday,” Lambert said.

“We had enough chances to win two or three games. It’s taking our chances. We dominated the game, dominated the ball but you’ve got to score.

“The level of performance, I couldn’t ask any more [than the way they] dominated the game, to come here, a tricky game, but the chances we had, we’ve got to be ruthless.”

Asked whether the problem is perhaps confidence or nerves in front of goal, Lambert reflected: “It’s probably a bit of both really. You look at James Norwood, he scored for fun at Tranmere last season. OK, it’s a different level, different expectancy level, different clubs.

“He hits the crossbar, the ball falls for him, but he doesn’t quite get his shot away.

“He had chances down this end as well. There are chances there, it’s not as if we’re not creating chances, but we’ve got to be more ruthless.”

Norwood, who has scored 11 times this season, netted regularly at the start of the campaign. Is he finding the step up from League Two tougher now?

“If your team-mate or your player has a hard time, you get your arm round him and you pick him up and try to make sure the guy is feeling good about himself,” Lambert said.

“And that’s what we’ll try and do. OK, he’s a bit low on confidence at the minute but his goals at the start of the season were excellent for us.

“He had the injury, which is fine, he had chances and then tonight and just didn’t manage to take them. Normally he’s more clinical than that.”

Town remain seventh but now seven points behind leaders Rotherham and six behind Peterborough who have climbed to second and Lambert admits the Blues have to start putting a run together if they’re to be in the promotion mix come May.

“We have to start to win, everybody knows that,” he said. “We have to start to win. As I said, performance-wise, coming here, playing as well as we did, you can’t play that well and not score.”

He added: “It’s a true saying that if the game was only about possession it would be great. But you’ve got a goal to score and you’ve got a goal to defend. You cannot have the ball dominance we have and not take chances”

Given the lack of goals, Lambert was asked if Freddie Sears, a sub this evening, is ready to start.

“He’s doing alright, but you’ve got to remember he was out for a year and there’s not been one major tackle I’ve seen him go into and he’s jumped up and gone again, even though he’s had little hits,” he said.

“You’ve got to watch him as well, you can’t just throw him in there and think he’s going to stand a lot of kicking and things like that. But he’s doing really well, and that’s a bonus for us.”

Is the expectancy level getting to the players? “At any big club the expectancy level is always there, it doesn’t matter where you are, in any country, if you’re a big club you’ve got to stand up to it.

“That’s why you’re at a big club, you like to think people have got the mentality to stand up to it.

“There are some young guys in the side, some experienced guys in the side, but this is probably the first time they’ve had this expectancy level that they have to try and achieve something.

“It will be good for them in the long run. They might not feel like that now, but once you’re right in the mix you know it.”

Have they got that character, that mentality? “They have to, you have to have it. You have to find it within yourself.

“I just said to them, ‘Stick together with it, there’s a long way to go, you’ve got nine games at home. You played well here, you played well at Sunderland but you’ve got to score goals when you’re on top’.

“If we’d scored one, if Nors’s shot that hit the crossbar goes in, it’s a different game.”

Lambert explained why he started Josh Earl ahead of Myles Kenlock at left wing-back.

“Just because of the way the game is going to be here,” he said. “I thought he had a really good first half, Josh, and looked really assured with the ball at his feet, that was a plus.”

Town will have Gwion Edwards back from his two-match ban at the weekend and Luke Garbutt could also return from his thigh strain.

“He’s doing alright, we’ll see how he is later on in the week,” he said. “As I said, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought. He’s doing OK.”

Town’s form in the last 20 games has seen them win only 22 points - winning just five times - with only two teams having picked up fewer. Asked if that’s a worry, Lambert said: “We’ve had a helluva time, we turned the corner a bit in January, but the last four games, we’ve lost three and drawn one.

“The draw stops the rot from the three defeats so that’s alright on that side but you can’t dominate games and not score. You have to score goals when you’re on top and you have to get through it, you have to come through it.”

How might that change? “You have to win. One win does it. As I said before, we’re playing decent football, we’re playing good football at certain moments, dominating the game but you have to score when you’re on top, and that’s football all over.”

Lambert believes there are goals in his strikers: “Yes, because they did it at the start. But at the start of the season there’s no pressure, everybody’s playing.

“It’s when it comes towards the end of the season and you see what’s at stake. They’ve got goals in them, they just have to bring it out.

“It’s not as if we’re not creating. I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating chances.”

The Blues bench was directly in front of the Town stand and Lambert had praise for the travelling support.

“The fans are brilliant here, some of the things that they’ve been through, they’ve been brilliant support for me,” he said.

“Everybody’s disappointed we’re not winning, I get all that. Fans, dear oh dear, I could never say anything bad about the Ipswich fans.”

Lambert insists he’s still chasing a top two place, despite the lack of form with only 13 matches left.

“Absolutely, because there’s a long, long way to go but we have to start to win games,” he said.

“If we weren’t creating chances then I’d think ‘OK, we’re not creating’ but we’re creating things and things are happening, we’re on the front foot, dominating things and should have had more out of today and Saturday, that’s for sure.”

Wimbledon boss Glyn Hodges admitted the game wasn't easy on the eye and was pleased with his team's dogged display.

“We showed character and resilience," he told the Dons' official website. "To a man they worked their socks off. The subs came on and made a contribution, everyone fought and stood up to it.

"There were some top performances. Though it wasn’t one for the purists, it was a more satisfying game because it was like a war of attrition.

“We are showing signs that we can play our football, that we can match teams with our play, as we have some good players. This was another sign that we can mix it up, it was a physical battle and we are probably going to have something similar on Saturday with Rotherham.

"We just have to stand up, show that character and resilience again, stick together as a team, and hopefully we’ve got enough.

“We knew that they would be hitting lots of long balls and we knew that they would go for knockdowns. We knew it wasn’t a game for the balls to be played on the floor.

“We tried to get the ball down, but we probably made a couple of mistakes in trying to play in the wrong areas, but credit to the boys in that they showed courage to stand up to the test.

“We did that in the way that the players put their bodies on the line and there were times when we showed courage to try and play. It wasn’t in the right places at times, but at least they looked to do that. I am delighted.”

Photo: TWTD

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MrTown added 23:39 - Feb 11
He makes sh*t up, we move the ball around the back under no pressure crap an awful opposition, that doesn’t qualify at dominating a game.

We could be there until midnight and it would still be goalless.

No flair, no spark, no creativity, no intensity.

But ultimately no quality in the final third.

Reuserscurtains added 23:43 - Feb 11
1.6 million Jackson and Captain Chambers. That’s your spine. Spineless! Pathetically run club, not a lot to be proud of anymore. Robsons boys were a long time ago

Girthyguy added 23:44 - Feb 11
Just go you obviously don't watch the same game as us fans.

BettyBlue added 23:45 - Feb 11
Thanks Paul for those verbose comments.

So everything going to plan, the 5 wins in 20 games all part of the big plan. Nothing to worry about. The odd goal will put everything right.
And if not what's not to like about mid table League One football.
And failing that there is a multi million pound pay off for me to go with all the other "Crash and burn" sackings.
Bravo Mr Adidas.

SingBlue added 23:45 - Feb 11
Do they have their gold footballers headphones on when your saying this stuff to them? because you’ve been spouting gumph like this at them for weeks apparently but we’re still getting worse!

davidsc1971 added 23:52 - Feb 11
So I think we're dodgy at the back, dodgy up front, and sparkless across the middle. In League One. This team would get pasted in the Championship, just like last season. Where is the inspiration coming from to put a winning run together?

Sm00411 added 23:54 - Feb 11
The draw stops the rot from the three defeats so that’s alright on that side"

I'm sorry Lambert but Ipswich Town should not be happy with a point against a team heading to League Two. Every interview he comes out and says the same things ("We played well", "We're unlucky", "We dominated") - take some ownership and admit that YOUR tactics are not good enough. You can't keep coming out saying the same things and expect the results to change - YOU have to make the change. That is the difference between a classy manager like Bielsa who admitted last week it his him that needs to work to change Leeds form.

We have the players capable of doing well in this league. Most of them individually are capable of walking into most League 1 sides. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded. It's down to the manager to get them gelling as a team like Wilder has at Sheff Utd (with a majority of championship quality players!!

Start being honest with yourself about where the problem is and then maybe our form will change.

Carberry added 00:13 - Feb 12
Blah, blah, blah. More of the same. 'I must be a big manager because I'm managing a big club, a really, really big club. Oh and those fans, they've been through so much before I got here, but it's all fine now. Don't worry, just a little bit of help and we'll be OK, nothing was won in February, so let's just concentrate on winning some games in May.' Zzzz.

shakytown added 00:14 - Feb 12
Relegation is our current form. These players are just plain and simply not good enough for this league and the manager is absolutely clueless. Defenders wo have no idea, midfielders who can barely pass the ball and strikers who could not score in a Bangkok brothel.

iaintaylorx added 00:20 - Feb 12
Give it a rest!! We were not dominant at all. Why play three midfielders that don’t attack!? Downes is the only player that will put his all into each performance. Jackson is wasted in our squad, he’d score goals for fun in a team that played attacking. I’m starting to think Norwood is massively overrated. We massively miss KVY and Garbutt. That is now 4 wins in 27 games... don’t worry though, PL will give a free pint to a few fans coz we’ve been great!

Woodbridgian added 00:35 - Feb 12
More nonsense from the King of Spin. Blame everything and everyone other than himself. Inept performance against a very very poor side. We are at best a mid table league one side, hopelessly outplayed by any if the top clubs and unable to break down even the worse. Lambert must wake up every morning unable to believe his lick that hapless Evans has given him a 5 year contract,

ottawafan added 02:27 - Feb 12
Yeah sure we don't take the chances we painfully manufacture but, sorry, there were precious few of them.

KiwiBlue2 added 03:36 - Feb 12
Sadly another toothless performance in front of goal. Given the run of poor form since November it is amazing that we are still close to the play-off spots or have indeed been in them for most of that time. Having Vincent-Young and Garbutt on the field at the same time will at least give us some threat but I find it hard to accept that the "strike-force" is so inept much of the time. One ray of hope is the number of home games we have coming up, about 7 of the last 10 or so. Normally this would be a great advantage but home form has been patchy and we struggle to score there also. Fingers crossed for a dramatic improvement but I am not holding my breath ....... coyb

martin587 added 06:56 - Feb 12
It hurts me to say this Paul but you say the same thing after almost every game.We should be better than the rubbish we serve up and YOU should be able to do far better than this squad.The support you have at home and even more away deserves better.IF we loose the next two games then you should leave this club.Sorry but we deserve better.I feel absolutely shattered after that performance last night.Sort it out get some creativity in midfield .I’m one disillusioned 74 year old supporter.

cat added 07:05 - Feb 12
Lamberts stats - wins 27.4, draws 31.5, losses 41.1. Atrocious springs to mind.

cooper442 added 07:12 - Feb 12
This man might be clueless tactically, but at talking complete nonsense he is the master!

runningout added 07:21 - Feb 12
We haven’t been Ruthless for too long. Players aren’t hungry enough. The morale amongst team maybe ok but the club is a shambles all over. Big big changes are required before we are in National league

Mark added 07:23 - Feb 12
Enough chances to win 2 or 3 games?! Amazing comment considering our blatent lack of creativity. Our wing backs would probably be happier at centre back. None of our midfield three are attacking midfielders.

tractorboybig added 07:26 - Feb 12
Just go..and take your bulls***t with you. These performances are YOUR creation.

Saxonblue74 added 07:47 - Feb 12
So he couldn't fault our level of performance? Nearly 800 travelled last night to watch that shower on a Tuesday night in Feb, ask each and every one of them and I'll put my house on it that they could all fault it! Yes Evan's could and probably should invest more, but look at the facts that we are dealing with right now rather than the "could haves" and "should haves". We have a striker in Jackson who we paid £1.6m for, a big price tag for a lge1 player. We have another in Norwood who I watched tearing it up in the lge2 play off final, having scored 30 in a season, exciting signing I thought. Huws, coming back to fitness having looked too good for the championship, yet alone the 3rd tier. Downes and Woolfenden, both attracting attention from the premier league. Chambers as Skuse, both have their critics but with their experience should be assets at this level. Garbutt, a real talent on loan from a premier lge club. Sears, good experience and has done really well at this level in the past just coming back to fitness. A decent Goalkeeper in Holy who is perfectly equipped to deal with the physicality of lge1. KVY and Lankester waiting in the wings for a return, both more than good enough for the starting 11. Dozzell, a youth international touted for great things but never making it onto the pitch.So, with all those players in our squad I'm afraid the finger of blame AT PRESENT for me points firmly at the manager and players. For all Evan's obvious failings, our current plight and poor form is not in my opinion, his fault.

norfolkbluey added 07:55 - Feb 12
PL, you should look at the comments here. A manager like Wilder has done brilliantly with championship players. You have on paper players who are worthy of the championship and yet your sats are awful like they were in your previous clubs who parted company with you previously. The team improved last night but against poorer competition. We should have put them to the sword. Your comments after matches is grating to say the least. It would be better to say my tactics were below the standards expected at this great club. You just don't know what to do in these circumstances and this is a worrying factor and why the fans are making the current comments. Take responsibility. Roman generals used to fall on their swords in situations like this. All you have to do is take a golden handshake from an owner who gives ridiculously long contracts to people who have a recently long record of failure.

ChrisFelix added 08:02 - Feb 12
Blokes lost it, 5 defenders plus 3 defensive midfielders against a struggling division one side.Team selection as baffling as douglas Skuse & hyam

r2d2 added 08:25 - Feb 12
5 wins in 20, and Lambert is still here. Only Town would reward that with a 5 year contract. Evans you muppet.

Northstandveteran added 08:49 - Feb 12
Excellent post Saxon.

I have just this minute posted a more simplified but pretty much the same on the match report page.

Michael101 added 08:50 - Feb 12
Cooper 442 how do you know he's talking rubbish? I can't understand a word he says.maybe that's the problem the players can't understand him also.😁😁

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