Lambert: We Can't Just Rely on the Strikers
Friday, 14th Feb 2020 13:09
Blues boss Paul Lambert says Town can’t just rely on their strikers to score the goals required to win promotion back to the Championship and revealed that he has had a chat with top scorer James Norwood about what's been a frustrating period for him in front of goal.
Asked whether he would like to see his midfielders and defender chipping in with more goals, Lambert said: “Definitely, you can’t just rely on [the strikers]. When people say, you’re struggling for goals, people automatically put it on the forwards’ toes.
“But It’s never that. It’s a scenario where everybody has to help. It’s the same as defending, exactly the same as defending. I don’t just blame the defenders, that becomes a negativity. If you look at it as a collective thing going forward and going back it’s an unfair label to give the forward guys, everybody has to chip in.”
Aside from Luke Garbutt, who has netted six, no other non-striker has scored more than two goals this season.
Speaking in the week Lambert said 11-goal leading scorer James Norwood was lacking in confidence having scored one goal - the late penalty against Peterborough - in the last seven appearances, although four of those games were from the bench, and he says he spoke to him following the Wimbledon match in which the former Tranmere man missed a number of chances.
“I had a chat with him the other day, and you’ve got to remember that kid has come from League Two up to a huge football club,” he said.
“He needs time as well, he’s done well in a lot of games and had hard times in other games, and he’s had his injury, so there’s a lot of pressure on him because everybody thinks he’s done it at Tranmere, so he’s going to do it here.
“He’s scored a few goals for us but his game has got to get better, and he knows that his general game got to get better.
“But he’s got to get through those wee stages. He’s got to get through the hard times as well as the good times, everything isn’t going to be plain sailing for him, he’s going to have hard times.
“In this moment he’s been having a bit of a hard time with it, but whether he starts or whether he plays [from the bench], he’s still a handful.”
Given the current situation, is Lambert starting to see who the characters and leaders are in his squad?
“You need it,” he said. “Any big club you play in front of a crowd, you need it. I tell you what, I’d rather play in front of 20-odd thousand than two or three thousand.
“Give me that any day of the week. You take that on, you take the good, and you take the bad that goes with it. But as long as you never crumble, you’ve always got to stay positive, you’ve always got to stay fine, okay no problem.
“If we lose, we lost a game, if we win, we win a game, and you let it go, you go to the next game.
“I never get too high when I win and never get to low when I lose. The guys are the most important people along with the ones that come and watch it, the supporters.
“So, we just have to try and finish off our good work. The play in general and domination of the ball is very, very good, and we just have to take our chances.”
Given the lack of goals, has he tailored training to seek to address that? “Playing is totally different from training. Training is easy, no crowd, no you guys [the media] hanging around and no fans there – it’s easy.
“When you come to a matchday it’s a big game, the real ball comes out, and it separates the men from the boys.
“We’ve been playing really well, and we just have to take those chances. You’d be more worried if we weren’t creating chances, but we just have to have that little break in front of goal.”
He added: “You could go out and shoot 50 shots into that goal and come a Saturday you’re nowhere near it. It’s not out there that matters, it’s on a matchday that matters.
“The lads do shooting, they do crossing and finishing left, right and centre. It’s the actual matchday, and you can’t compare training to the real game, the real game is a totally different animal.”
He says his players are well aware they need to start finding the net on regular basis sooner rather than later if they are to be in the promotion hunt come the end of the campaign.
“Absolutely,” he said “They’re playing well enough to go and win games, that’s the good thing.
“They just need to finish off their good work, that’s all they need to do. Finish off the good work they’ve been doing and play with freedom, just go and play.”
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