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Bristol Rovers 0 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 19th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: We Raised the Intensity in the Second Half
Saturday, 19th Sep 2020 18:39

Blues boss Paul Lambert was delighted with the way his side raised the intensity of their performance in the second half of their 2-0 victory at Bristol Rovers. A Max Ehmer own goal on 80 and Jon Nolan’s second of the season in the 89th minute saw Town to their second 2-0 League One win of the season and to the top of the table.

“I thought started really well,” Lambert said. “The football we’re playing at the minute I think is great, it’s great to watch.

"The only criticism I had was that the speed of the ball was a little bit slow but that was because we were that comfortable and that tends to happen at times. We just raised it a little bit in the second half and I thought some of the football was great.

“They tried to match us by putting somebody on Andre Dozzell, which I thought would have happened after the first couple of games.

“Again I thought the midfield was great. Flynn Downes came on and was a huge presence as well. Jack Lankester came on and contributed. Big Oli Hawkins contributed. A lot of good football there, really good, comfortable with the ball. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

He says his message to his players at half-time was a simple one: “Just raise the intensity a little bit. I thought in the first half we were in control of the game with the ball, we controlled the game, controlled the ball.

“It was just a matter of being a little bit quicker in the final third because we had so many good wide areas but we didn’t pick people out when I thought we should have. The second half was very good.”

Dozzell again shone despite being man-marked by the Pirates and Lambert says he spoke to the 21-year-old a few days ago about being singled out for attention.

“I had a chat with him during the week and I said if someone man marks you, number one, it’s a compliment, and number two you have to find an answer to the problem,” he said.

“I tried to help him with certain little things but he’s got to go out there and do it and he does it. Great left foot, he can find a pass, can play round corner, can play one and two touches really easily and I think he’s revelling playing that role.”

Like Dozzell, Nolan has also made a huge impression in the opening weeks, having already scored twice.

“I think he’s been superb, that’s another goal, but just his general game, his touch, one-twos, just his general game is very, very good,” the Blues manager said.

“I think all the midfield guys are complementing on another really well and it doesn’t matter which midfield guys I play, they seem to gel together.”

Is Nolan more likely to score than the other midfielders? “I don’t know because Teddy Bishop’s already scored as well. Andre might be a bit different, playing a bit deeper.

“Flynn can definitely contribute, Emyr Huws can definitely contribute, but I think the way the team is playing in general football-wise is really pleasing.”

Lambert admits he was slightly concerned about Rovers grabbing a goal against the run of play in the second half with the Blues still to find an opening.

“You’re always in fear of that because with all the dominance we had,” he added. “They had maybe a 10-minute spell just after half-time and we knew they would come into it a little bit. They’ve spent a good bit of money, Bristol Rovers.

“The way we played is really, really good. We’ve got guys [who haven’t played a lot of matches]. Teddy Bishop, I don’t know when the last time he played a succession of games was, Jack Lankester’s the same, Dozzell’s the same, Emyr Huws is the same, guys that have had injuries here for a long time.

“I find it really pleasing how we’re playing. Stephen Ward has come in and has been terrific. Chambo’s stepped up massively as well and the two centre-backs have been outstanding.”

The Blues have now kept clean sheets in their first two League One games and Lambert is delighted with his defenders.

“I think they’re playing ever so well the back lads, the back four,” he said. “Even Myles Kenlock and Janoi Donacien did great on Wednesday night [against Fulham].

“The back four’s been really, really strong and that will keep breeding confidence. It’s not just defending, it’s with the ball, I think we’re really good from the back with the ball.”

Lambert is equally pleased with the number of goalscoring opportunities being created: “I think the way we’re playing is great, the number of chances is coming because of the way we’re playing, I think that’s evident.

“There’s a lot of confidence in the guys, in the team. The guys were playing against Fulham with a lot of confidence, so I think everybody’s playing with confidence and I think if you have that then you’ve got a good chance. I think the style of play is definitely suiting them.”

Lambert was delighted for Jack Lankester, who assisted both goals having come off the bench after not playing since January 2019 due to two stress fractures to his back.

“It’s been horrendous for that kid with his back,” the Town boss said. “Coming back and then feeling it again and having another operation.

“Mentally that’s tough and all credit to him. Technically, I don’t have a problem with that, fitness will come the more and more he trains and the more and more he gets involved. The contribution he made was huge and if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes like that, then great.”

Lambert was also pleased with his other substitutes: “Oli’s a handful, I always say that, he gives us a different dimension. James Norwood worked really hard up there, that’s another 60 minutes under his belt, so I’m happy with him.

“I was happy with Big Oli on Wednesday and today I thought he was excellent. Flynn came on and I thought he did great and Jack Lankester set up the goals.”

Regarding Alan Judge, who missed out with an injury, Lambert says the issue is nothing too significant.

“He picked it up and Wednesday night and it was a risk to play him today, and that was a blow because he’s been doing really, really well, Judgey,” he said. “Hopefully next week he’ll be OK. It’s his hamstring but it’s not serious, hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Better news was Kayden Jackson returning to training yesterday having been out of action since pre-season with a groin injury.

“It’s great because the more bodies we have back the better, the competition’s there for everybody to see,” Lambert reflected. “He trained on Friday and hopefully there’s no reaction and he gets a good week under his belt.”

The win took Town to the top of the league but Lambert has said before he pays little attention to tables at this stage: “It’s nothing, if that’s where we are at the minute. Let’s see.”

Reflecting on back-to-back wins in the League One season's first two games, he added: “Any win you get is good. Any win you get in football is a hard-earned win.”

The Blues now have what will be a rare midweek off this season before Rochdale visit Portman Road next Saturday, which Lambert welcomes: “That will be good, that will be nice and refreshing.”

Photo: TWTD

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LWNR2013 added 18:40 - Sep 19

backwaywhen added 18:45 - Sep 19
Credit where credit is due .... subs were well timed and chosen .

Bert added 19:06 - Sep 19
Lambert and coaches coming good, midfield now expressing itself, players yet to come back, no league goals conceded...... and Evans in the stands. Surely there’s nothing to be unhappy about at the moment.... is there?

JCBLUE added 19:07 - Sep 19


arc added 19:13 - Sep 19
Good stuff! Now don't change the shape! Let's try to impose ourselves, not chop and change to match others.

itsonlyme added 19:58 - Sep 19
I was critical of Wednesdays game (probably wrongly) but I have nothing but praise for today’s performance. I just wish we were a bit more clinical in front of goal. But well done lads.

delias_cheesy_flaps added 20:06 - Sep 19
The biggest and most pleasing point for Town today was getting Jack Lankaster back, this lad is a special talent and with Andre looking like he could finally fill his dads boots things might be on the up for once!

JDAndCoke added 20:18 - Sep 19
Always find it surprisingly odd and a real shame how few comments are written on these articles when we win. It seems we all want to kick the boys when they're down yet offer little praise when they play well. It's clear from recent comments in the media that players see some things that are written about them, whether that's on here, social media or in the wider press. We want our boys to continue performing on the pitch... as fans we have a part to play too. COYB

LWNR2013 added 20:38 - Sep 19
Our starting midfield looks like championship standard. And at last Dozzell has matured into the player we expected him to be (not meant to be patronising). Keep them fit and keep them here.

anditractor added 20:39 - Sep 19
Agree with JDandcoke, not many comments when we do well.
2 games, 2 wins, top of the league !! What's not to like. Good to see virtually unchanged side, about time. Good to see Lankaster back. COYB

pennblue added 20:42 - Sep 19
Fair play to Chambers too, he has stepped it up this season. Less talking, and more action, it is what we wanted to see. I am sure having Ward in there, has also helped take some of the responsibility off his shoulders too.

Edmundo added 20:46 - Sep 19
If we can keep this squad and maybe add a couple in January, we can expect a wonderful 2021...

Lathers added 21:04 - Sep 19
Great to win again and we actually play well. First half we were slow and looked pretty average, but 2nd half was much, much better and the moment we started zipping it about and having overloads out wide, Bristol couldn’t cope with it. Nolan was outstanding and looks a class above when he plays like that. Downes and Lankester made a big difference when they came on. Fair play to Nsiala for sorting out his head - he looked rock solid again today. Well done to Lambert for using lockdown to work out a system that’s seems to work well and also for playing a settled team.

norfolkbluey added 07:40 - Sep 20
Let this be just the start of an excellent season. It's great to see our young players coming to the fore. Jack is making a a real contribution plus all the others playing as a unit. So good to see a proper blend of experience and youth. Praise to Lambert and the coaching staff.

irishtim added 07:50 - Sep 20
Think Ward may be a great signing. Experience and will to win. Helps midfield to know that a very experienced defender behind them .

bobble added 09:07 - Sep 20
we were at the top this time last year, lets hope we stay there this time

spanishblue added 09:09 - Sep 20
pleased to say my link worked got to watch the game,bodes well for the future as we looked really good the last quarter,Chambers looked so much better and WARD EXCELLENT,lovely to see Dozzer spreading passes but also working hard,Toto beginning to look a brute back there at last,a happy SATURDAY night 2 in a row thankyou boys,thought FLYNN certainly wants to play,my first glimpse of JACK at last guys fighting for the shirt,

RaymondovicBlue added 12:29 - Sep 20
Happy to join the measured optimism with my comment. Good players coming back after injury adds to the excitement and optimism IF we can keep them on the pitch. Is it just me or is Chambo more solid at RB than CB?

Whilst it is great to have a recognised and understood formation, clearly tweaks will be necessary to change games and to add some "unexpected" for opposition to cope with, but for now, familiarity is best by far.

Strange he didn't mention Cole Skuse as a midfielder who can add goals.... He's scored a couple of screamers..... 😂

Genuinely can see promotion potential already despite ithe realism that comes from us starting with two "easier" fixtures.

Gets a tactic to overcome lost years voodoo.....
Stay top of the league and we'll never need to fear losing to anyone (everyone!) above us.... How many up votes for that idea?!?! COYB😎

coolcat added 20:43 - Sep 20
Well done Ipswich! Great win yesterday. Watched the game on ifollow.

coolcat added 20:43 - Sep 20
Well done Ipswich! Great win yesterday. Watched the game on ifollow.

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 05:37 - Sep 21
Well done lads, cracking start.

BurleysGloryDays added 15:27 - Sep 21
The thing I'd love to add is that both these games have been littered with chances for both teams. I'm really delighted that we're sat here with 6 points, almost surprised - because although we've been the better team in both games, the oppo have squandered golden chances that could've dramatically changed the outcomes.

The reason I bring this up is that football is a game that really turns on the finest of edges. We could've been as good as we've been and have 0 points after two games. Simple fact.

As fans we really, really have to support the team *whatever* the result. Not jump to conclusions about being 'good', 'bad', 'doomed', 'blessed' and so on. Just support whatever the result, week in, week out.

Because actually that support, can genuinely be one of those fine edges we're talking about.

It's how Sunderland became doomed, and how Liverpool can produce miracles at Anfield. It's part of how little clubs like Brentford and Bournemouth build special setups. And slightly to our shame, it's why national press wrote us off at the start of the season, literally quoting our own "potentially poisonous atmosphere" - see The Times.

We'll always get the club we deserve as fans. So, come what may, let's recognise this and realise that we are the club, and its performance is inseparably linked to us as fans - not just the players, owner and management.

(I'll try to remember to remind us all of this come victory or loss. We have to keep it close whatever the weather).

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