Lambert: Lads Gave Me Everything
Saturday, 7th Mar 2020 18:26
Blues boss Paul Lambert was proud of his team and everybody in the stadium, despite his side having been beaten 1-0 by leaders Coventry City at Portman Road.
Matt Godden netted the game’s only goal in the 16th minute to put the Sky Blues five points clear at the top of the division.
“The lads gave me absolutely everything, they gave me everything in their bodies,” Lambert said. “We played a good game, one real chance they’ve scored.
“We had a lot of the game. I can’t ask any more of them today. Today I was really proud of them, proud of everybody in the stadium, the fans were great again, staying with us.
“I think they saw what we’ve got out there and they saw the commitment, and that’s all you can ever ask for. So today, we lost the game but the performance was a lot better.”
He added: “Considering the lads we’ve got, we had two kids on the bench that came on. Luke Woolfenden’s a kid, Andre Dozzell’s a kid, the two kids that are coming off the bench [Armando Dobra and Tyreece Simpson] are babies. They’re wet behind the ears. So there are a lot of things to be proud of and the atmosphere in the ground was night and day.”
Lambert had praise for Gwion Edwards and Cole Skuse, who both impressed having come back into the team, and Alan Judge.
“They were very good,” he said. “Cole had a really nasty gash on the shin. Gwion I thought was excellent, Judge I thought was excellent in the second half as well, so there were a lot of good things there.
“Coventry and Mark Robins, I think they’re good guys and a good team, but I think today we had Flynn Downes missing, arguably one of the best midfielders in the division, three lads up front missing [Kayden Jackson, James Norwood and Will Keane], Danny Rowe being out, Kane Vincent-Young out, Emyr Huws is just back from a toe injury. There are a lot of big players out. Hopefully we’ll get one or two back.”
Lambert felt his team ought to have won an early penalty when Kyle McFadzean appeared to foul Jon Nolan.
“Aye, with Nolan? I thought it was close,” he said. “Then Bish, first half, went through and I thought it was a freekick just at the edge of the box but we never got it. But the Nolan one was an interesting one.”
The Town boss also wondered whether there might have been a foul in the build-up to the Coventry goal when Nolan was dispossessed and wasn’t overly impressed with the officials overall.
“On the far side? I thought that at the time when I saw it,” Lambert recalled. “I thought the officiating, the linesmen hadn’t got a flag, he never put it up, it was incredible some of the decisions there.
“I just think that’s just the way it is in this division. But the [incident with] Nolan, there could have been a case for that, especially with what was going on before and after that.”
Asked about Norris’s booking as the players made their way off at half-time, Lambert add: “I just found that out just before I came up here, that Will got booked.
“I don’t know what it was. I think they were trying to talk to the referee but I thought the referee must have taken offence to what he said. I don’t know what he said.”
Nolan had Town’s best chance but nodded the ball tamely into Coventry keeper Marko Marosi’s arms.
“I know exactly what he’s done because the ball’s high in the air so he’s got to wait for it,” Lambert said. “And the keeper’s obviously gone back and he’s plucked it out of the air. I can see what Nolo’s done, he went to do the right thing and he was caught when the keeper moved back. It was a big chance.”
Reflecting on Town’s lack of goals, Lambert added: “Absolutely, but we’ve got three big players out. Freddie and Bish have been back for a few weeks of playing time. They’ve been out for months, Freddie over a year.
“You’re asking two guys who are running on empty again and then you’re putting Tyreece and Dobra on. But that’s where the club is at the minute.
“But I’m really proud of how the team played and how we stayed in the game for a long, long time and we took charge of the game against a good side.”
Lambert admits he’s having to play Bishop and Sears more than he would ideally like to given their lack of match fitness.
“Yes, I think it’s really unfair for the two of them because they were out for a helluva long time,” he continued.
“You’ve got to remember, if you’re out, they say you detrain in three weeks when you don’t train. Freddie’s been out over a year. Yes, he’s training and getting bits here and there, Bish is the same, long term out. His calves were cramping up, we had to take him off. Freddie as well, was running on empty at the top end of the pitch.
“You’ve got to look after them as well, you can’t just put them out and say ‘OK, run until something else happens to you’, that’s not the way I work.”
The defeat, Town’s seventh in nine matches, sees the Blues drop to 10th and seven points off the play-offs having played two games more than the four teams above them. Lambert admits it’s getting tougher with every game and says it’s just a case of taking each game as it comes.
“We have to,” he reflected. “If can get some of the guys back, we’ll be a lot stronger. At the minute, today’s performance, I’m really proud of how they went really toe-to-toe with Coventry, a good side. But if we get some of them back if we can do that.
“You still have to fight for everything, you have to fight and fight and fight until that last ball’s kicked until the summer. Everybody has to fight for the club.”
He added: “We have to go for everything. I know it’s hard but we have to go for absolutely everything. As I said before, I never give up. I give everything I’ve got. I do my best and hopefully we’ll go on a run, we do get the guys back and we’ll look a lot stronger team.
“Today I an’t fault the guys for their effort, it was there, everything that I asked of them was there.”
“So, the next scenario we have to look at only Freddie, he’s the only one, or start Tyreece or start Ben Morris, who had an horrific injury as well. It’s a big ask. Freddie was the option for us because we didn’t have anybody else. We’ll have to wait and see whether Will is fit for next week.”
Regarding other players who might be back, he added: “Kane had a bit of a setback, we’ll see how he is later on in the week. Danny Rowe’s the same, we’ll see how he is. Kayden will be back, Flynn will be back, Nors [James Norwood], he’s still out.
“Emyr, hopefully his toe will have settled down. Hopefully we’ll get one or two back. Look at the bench, we had three kids on the bench.”
Lambert explained recalling Will Norris for Tomas Holy in goal: “I think when you leave somebody out it’s always a tough decision. The disappointment is a lot for guys. But I made the decision because of what happened last night and the way we played at the back, we were going to play from the back, which we did do. We played some good stuff.
“Will Norris is a really calming head, really, really calm. He’s mid-20s but he has a really good way, a really good way about him. I’m not saying Tomas hasn’t but for this game I just thought Will’s calming influence was important. I don’t think Will has had a save to make.”
Lambert says Luke Garbutt will also have to be assessed having picked up a knock: “I think on the far side he blocked a cross and I think it tweaked his groin, so we need to see how he is as well. That’s another one. I thought Josh Earl did well when he came on, so we need to see how Garbs is.”
Coventry boss Mark Robins, was delighted with his team, who have now gone 18 games in all competitions since they were last defeated.
“It was a really tough game. I thought we started brilliantly we kept the ball really well and the goal was really magnificent the way they got through, the way they passed it, a great through ball from Walshy [Liam Walsh]," he said.
“We needed the start because the way it finished was bitty and scappy and we didn’t keep the ball.
“We gave them opportunities and they are fighting for their lives. It was a tough game and we got a clean sheet which was outstanding and the goal was good enough to win it.
“Thankfully we can get home and give them a bit of a breather going into next week. We have got 10 games left and we need to be better than that.
“We have got to be better against the teams we have got coming up.
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