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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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r2d2 added 13:20 - Feb 14
I beg to differ that they are play well Paul. Im not sure what you are watching.

Suffolkboy added 13:24 - Feb 14
The correct and professional perspective, the truth of which ought to be digested by the many all too ready to mis-allocate blame disregarding the plus points but needing too frequently to find and nominate scapegoats !
Well spoken PL ! All the more strength to your bow !

JewellintheTown added 13:59 - Feb 14
" can’t just rely on [the strikers]. When people say, you’re struggling for goals, people automatically put it on the forwards’ toes."
Isn't that their job? Their only job? They get very well paid to do?

Letchworth_Blue added 14:10 - Feb 14
Where else are the goals coming from? "Two goals" Skuse or "one goal" Judge? Or perhaps all those other guys that come steaming forward everytime we attack. We dont create anything and are so slow when breaking. That is where the problem is.

TR11BLU added 14:13 - Feb 14
We shouldn't have to but whilst you keep picking Skuse, that is sadly the case.

Lightningboy added 15:10 - Feb 14
The problem is that we have to rely on the strikers because the entire midfield has only managed 8 goals between them all season long...Luke Garbutt’s nearly scored more than that alone.

TimmyH added 15:32 - Feb 14
As others have said can't rely on the midfield...Garbutt has done okay in the 3-5-2 or even as a defender but goals ain't coming from anywhere else.

Gilesy added 16:38 - Feb 14
If we're a huge football club now, what were we back in the Premier League seasons? Stop giving them excuses!

Tractorboy1985 added 16:52 - Feb 14
You can’t and never will be able to rely on Kayden Jackson! Touch.. reading of the game is abysmal! You have to have a lot more than pace to your game! We basically have 2 league 2 strikers in league 1 with no creativity from midfield! However i think Norwood would succeed if the team played to his strengths! Lumping the ball up to him will never work! And when we do lump it we have no wingers to even chase the ball as the wing backs are so far back! That leaves the 2 forwards chasing hopeful balls v 4 defenders! Lost cause! We needed a left back so Garbutt could continue to flourish where he played at the very start of the season and looked dangerous playing left mid.. KVY at right back and although I don’t particularly rate him Edwards in front of him.. Downes and judge in the middle!

shakytown added 16:55 - Feb 14
Why then do you insist on playing 3 defensive midfielders?????? My cats more likely to score than Skuse.

therein61 added 17:36 - Feb 14
Strikers are only as good as the service they get P.L which has not been good enough/non existent for weeks now.

BettyBlue added 18:27 - Feb 14
Can he get any more complacent?

He's not fit to wear adidas let alone the Ipswich Town badge.

Get him out.

Pecker added 18:38 - Feb 14
That much is bl00dy obvious. Are we sure this bloke is a manager?

ITFCsince73 added 19:23 - Feb 14
Give Norwood a loose ball in the box, it will find its way goalwards.
It’s the getting the ball into the box we can’t do.
Although getting the ball into Jackson feels me with no confidence at all.
Much the same as when our ageing centre back receives the ball.

Dissboyitfc added 07:02 - Feb 15
No I don’t agree therein61, Norwood misses sitters , his one on ones are pathetic he should be in his 20’s with the attempts he has had! Norwood has been disappointing , I am sure he is disappointed as well!

dirtydingusmagee added 08:10 - Feb 15
think he just meant you cant rely on the strikers.

Dissboyitfc added 09:38 - Feb 15
Spot on dirty !

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