Lambert Still Targeting Top Two
Friday, 14th Feb 2020 12:39
Boss Paul Lambert insists he is still looking at a top-two finish this season, despite the Blues currently sitting in seventh, seven points off leaders Rotherham - who have a game in hand - and six behind second-placed Peterborough United, although with Posh having played one game more than Town.
Yesterday, striker Freddie Sears suggested the Blues now probably have to target the play-offs but Lambert says his side is still aiming for an automatic place.
“Yes, of course we are. Freddie’s going, ‘OK, we’ll try, if we go on a great run we can definitely do it’,” he said. “[Can we] get in the top two? Absolutely we can because the run’s nine games at home, four away.
“There’s an incredible amount of points to play for. Nobody’s won the title yet, nobody’s got in the top six yet, there’s so much football to be played, so much.
“And if we go on a run, and hopefully it can happen, let’s see where it takes us. But you never discount what’s going to happen. You still go for automatic, absolutely you do.”
Sears also said that no one in the squad wants to be looking back on what would be a “wasted season” if the Blues fail to return to the Championship at the first time of asking.
“Absolutely, nobody wants to turn around and say, ‘We have to be in League One again’ but you’ve got to go and prove it,” Lambert said.
“What’s going to get you out of the league? Winning games. It’s not because we’re Ipswich Town, as I said to you before, if it was that easy Leeds United and other teams would have got out at the first time of asking. It’s difficult. It’s a difficult league.”
Does he believe the impressive start to the season raised expectations too high when it was perhaps inevitable there would be bumps in the road?
“I knew the start we had everybody was getting too carried away,” Lambert reflected.
“They were getting too carried away and I warned everybody you’re not seeing the big picture here. You’re getting too carried away saying ‘Okay we’re going to go unbeaten we’re going to do X, Y and Z.
“I knew right away when the bumps were going to start. If we had started poorly and we were on the run that we had at the start of the season everyone would have thought it was a genius turnaround.
“But it’s been a role reversal. I knew because I’ve been in the game long enough and I’m experienced enough to know there very rarely comes a season [where a club dominates all season], very rarely like Liverpool at the moment or Arsenal in the past, and Celtic. But it’s rare, it can happen, but predominately certain teams can have difficulties at certain times of the season.”
Does he believe there is enough quality, character and all the other components needed to turn things around again in the last 13 games?
“Other than the second half against Sunderland we’ve been playing pretty well on that last two games there,” he said.
“So, the indication is that we definitely have got more than enough, without a doubt, to get in.
“We’re a good side, all we need to do is finish it off. Whether it’s a striker, midfielder or defender, finish off the good work, but stick together with it, don’t alienate each other for it, you have to stick together.”
Could one good week prove to be pivotal? “I think that’s the big message, that we’ve nine games at home and there are 27 points at home and 12 away from home.
“The away form has been really, really good, the home is not been where you want to be, but you’ve got a target of 27 points. You win most of them, and you’re going to be there or thereabouts, that’s for sure.”
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