Lambert: Last Year Wasn't Good Enough
Wednesday, 5th Aug 2020 19:24
Town boss Paul Lambert says the players have to “realise what happened last year wasn’t good enough” and that the Blues have to improve in 2020/21.
The squad returned to Playford Road for pre-season training a fortnight ago having been away from the club since March. Earlier today, news broke that everyone had tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday and could progress to from stage one to stage two of the EFL’s Return to Training Protocols.
Lambert says being back in training is a positive move for everyone even if it’s not quite as pre-season would normally be.
“Coming into training’s good, just for the mental side of the game, it’s good, albeit in small groups and things like that,” he told the iFollow Ipswich.
“That’s been strange because that’s the first time I’ve encountered training in those small groups and staggered starts and people coming into the place and then are away again.
“But it’s the same for everybody, so that’s life as it is at the minute. But it’s good to be back.
“And anybody will tell you, team sport and a contact sport, if you don’t have contact then you don’t really have a game.
“But we’ve tried to give the guys things that they’ve needed, what we thought they needed and slowly but surely if things do get back to normal then that will pick up,”
He says the players have done well in training but insists they have to improve on last season’s disappointing 11th-place finish on unweighted points per game after the season was cut short.
“The guys have been really good in training, there’s not a problem there. We know we have to improve from last year, it wasn’t good enough,” he admitted.
“[It’s been] the best part of four and a half, five months and footballers lose fitness really, really quickly and once these guys stop their playing careers then they’ll know what it’s like to be normal that way.
“You have to enjoy this moment that you’re in as a footballer and they have to realise what happened last year wasn’t good enough, by everybody it wasn’t good enough, and we have to improve.”
Looking ahead to the prospect of matches being played behind closed doors, which will be the case in pre-season and at the start of the campaign proper, he added: “Nobody coming into the stadiums is going to be strange for everybody. I think you’re in the unknown.
“We don’t know what it’s going to be like, we don’t the measurements that are going to get taken and the protocols of coming to a game or the testing, all those sort of things that everybody’s probably asking the questions about.
“At this moment, we’ve done the very best we can to keep the lads psychologically in good shape and mentally in good shape, physically in good shape, we’ve hopefully tried the right steps.”
So far this summer Town’s only addition has been young winger Ross Crane, who was signed on a free transfer from Bury Town, but Lambert is definitely eyeing further signings, sooner rather than later if possible.
“I don’t think we’ll be different from anybody else, “ he reflected. “I think what the pandemic’s done, it’s really derailed the transfer window with a lot of teams and you can’t get anybody in.
“But we certainly need people to improve us, we have to try and get somebody in to improve us because last year simply wasn’t good enough.
“Ideally you’d love to get them in now, ideally. But it’s not an ideal world we’re in at the minute, we’re in strange times.”
Lambert, who met with owner Marcus Evans at the club last week, says he doesn’t know what his budget is given the financial issues facing both Town and Evans’s other businesses due to the coronavirus crisis.
“Whether money will be there, we’ll have to wait and see,” he added. “It’s a really difficult time for everybody.”
Having released Will Keane at the end of last season, a big striker appears to be top of Lambert’s wish-list, along with another goalkeeper, Will Norris having returned to Wolves following his loan spell.
The Blues are also short of a centre-half, with Toto Nsiala expected to move on with Scottish Premiership side Dundee United keen, as reported earlier in the week, a left-back - with former loanee Luke Garbutt a target - and a winger.
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