Lambert: The Best Performance Since I've Been at Town
Saturday, 15th Feb 2020 18:28
Manager Paul Lambert hailed the Blues’ 4-1 home victory over Burton Albion as the best performance of his time in charge at Portman Road.
Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson netted two goals each as Town came from behind to comfortably beat the Brewers.
“That’s the best performance for me, in the 16 months I’ve been here,” Lambert said. “The best performance for a number of reasons, we could have won by six or seven there. We were really, really good.”
Town started brightly but found themselves behind in the sixth minute when Jamie Murphy put the visitors in front moments after Will Keane had had a good opportunity for the Blues.
“We had great chances, if you want the ball to fall to anybody in the box Will Keane’s the guy, how good his finishing is, and he does great,” he said. “It was a lovely move, Kayden does great down the line, crosses it and you think it’s going to go in.
“And then they go up the park and score. Then Judgey hits the bar, then Kayden goes round the goalkeeper and the chances kept on coming and you thought, ‘Not one of those days again’.
“And then we score from a chance which was more difficult than any of them with Judgey’s goal. I thought we were excellent the whole game.”
He added: “When Will missed and they went up the park and scored and you thought, ‘Not one of these days again’ because the amount of ball we had and possession we had, we were dominating the game but we couldn’t finish.
“But all of a sudden [we started to find the net], that’s why it’s the best performance, the guys were absolutely brilliant for us.”
In addition to their goals Jackson and Judge each picked up an assist and Lambert was delighted with his front three.
“I thought Jackson was unplayable, I thought he was fantastic,” he said. “Judgey I thought was excellent with his touch in the conditions, and his goals and his assist.
“That three were linking up brilliantly, Judge, Keane and Jackson. The longer the game went on it could have been six or seven.”
After the frustrations of recent weeks, the Blues hadn’t won in four going into the match, it was a result Town needed.
“At Wimbledon the other night we dominated the game so much, but it’s about taking the chances,” he reflected. “Sunderland we played a really good game, in the first half I thought we should have been one or two up before they scored.
“But the lads have been excellent for us, we’re only five points off first place, it’s incredible how tight it is. We’ve got eight home games now, that’s one ticked off, so we’re well in the mix that’s for sure.”
Regarding Burton, he added: “They’re a good side, Nigel’s got them doing well. To score four goals at any time is excellent, but I'm delighted with] the way we did it and I think it could have been a couple more, that’s for sure.”
The victory will do much to turn around a mood amongst the support which was threatening to turn sour after recent disappointments.
“The crowd only want to see the team win,” he continued. “As I said before, all I ask of the crowd is to come regardless of what happens on the pitch, you’ve got to enjoy yourself.
“As I said before, I wouldn’t want to come to a stadium, pay 20-odd quid and talk nonsense or just criticise people, why would you want to do that? Why would you want to come to a football stadium and just criticise people? It’s not enjoyment, it’s not good for the kids, for the younger generation.
“Come and enjoy yourself regardless of what happens. We’ll try and give you everything we possibly can, and you’ve nearly 20,000 here, which hasn’t happened here for a long, long time.
“But the crowd want to see their team win like everybody else but you’ve a better chance when everybody relaxes and enjoys it but the support the football club has got has been phenomenal.”
Lambert was pleased with returning left wing-back Luke Garbutt’s display as well Josh Earl, starting in the back three for the first time.
“He was very good, I thought he was excellent,” he said. “I thought Josh Earl played really well as well.
“But as the game was going on and on you could see when the goals started to go in everybody wanted to take the ball, take the ball, take the ball. The front lads were excellent, I thought there were a lot of good performances there.
“Freddie looked sharp, Bish looked sharp, there were a lot of good things. As I said before, momentum is a big thing, that’s one game finished and we go to the next one.”
The Blues boss also had praise for Judge, who hadn’t scored at home prior to today: “I thought he was excellent. We changed the system in the second half.
“Good players can play anywhere and Judgey’s a good player, he’s a really good player, he’s an Irish international, a great chance of maybe qualifying for the Euros with his national team. A really good player and him, Keane and Jackson today, I thought those three were excellent.”
Town are now five points off the top with the division incredibly tight and teams can drop from top to seventh within a couple of weeks and then make the return journey in a similar time.
Asked whether League One presents a unique pressure for clubs of Town’s size, Lambert added: “I think this club has got pressure anyway, whether it’s in the Championship or the Premier League.
“The size of the club and the fanbase it’s got and the history behind it creates that. Until the world ends, I think this club’s always going to have pressure on it because of the Butcher era, I blame big Terry Butcher, John Wark and Mick Mills and George Burley and all them for putting the pressure on!
“But you have to live up to it, at any big club you’ve got a fanbase and you have to be ready for what’s coming.
“I was fortunate to play with massive clubs where there’s unbelievable pressure. But I loved it, I thrived on it, I needed that. It’s a drug, I needed the pressure, that feeling, if you want to be a top player you have to handle support, that’s the secret of it.”
Does he believe his players can similarly thrive on the pressure? “That’s why I said today was the best, without a doubt. That proved to me definitely that they’re all winners the guys, because they play in front of an expectancy level.
“That’s why for me that was the best performance of the season because people were saying, ‘OK, can they handle the crowd?’, but for me that’s why they’ve hopefully turned a corner with that.”
Burton manager Nigel Clough admitted his team, shorn of some of their senior defenders, were unable to handle the Blues.
“We could not quite cope with them today and when you lose your first two centre-halves,” he said. “I thought that Ben Garratt made three or four brilliant saves and kept the score down well for us.
“We had a young back four out today and they have to learn and learn quickly, you can’t make mistakes.
“We are where we are as a team and came to Portman Road to give Ipswich a game and it’s an incredibly strong league this season.
“We are just outside the play-offs and when you look at the standard of the top six team I don’t think we can match that at the moment. I am not writing it off totally. I think the league is incredibly strong.”
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