|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Rochdale|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 26th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: We Deserved to Win
Saturday, 26th Sep 2020 18:31
Town boss Paul Lambert felt his team deserved their 2-0 victory over Rochdale despite starting the game sloppily.
Second-half goals from Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards saw the Blues, who maintained their position at the top of the League One table, to their third successive success by the same scoreline.
“I thought we deserved to win,” Lambert said afterwards. “I thought we started the game a little sloppily through our own doing.
“I thought we had a lot of the ball without penetrating enough at the start of the game. But then we started to find our rhythm.
“Oli Hawkins had a great chance, it was a brilliant header and it was a brilliant save, you’ve got to give that kid [Gavin Bazunu] his due, it was helluva save.
“Then Oli hit the post, then he had one cleared off the line and you think it could be one of those days.
“But all credit to the guys, they found their feet and we started to play. There were some really fantastic switches of play, the football was great, the off the ball running was great. But we were a little bit sloppy at the beginning.”
As was the case at Bristol Rovers last week, Town had to remain patient before putting the game to bed in the second half.
“When you have too much of the ball it can hurt you, a team sits off,” Lambert reflected. “But that’s the respect they showed us, I think they know we’re a good side.
“We were patient, we cycled the ball really well from side to side at certain moments. I’m really overall but the patience and the way we’re playing is really pleasing.”
The Blues boss was pleased with his side’s third League One clean sheet of the season and their fourth in all competitions.
You have to go back to the 1993/94 Premier League campaign for the last time the Blues won their first three league matches without conceding when a 3-0 win at Oldham was followed by 1-0 home victories over Southampton and Chelsea.
“The lads threw their bodies into things and as I’ve always said, the corner stone of any strong team is the defence,” he said.
“It allows everybody else to find their feet and get going and the defending, as a back four and a goalkeeper, I thought was excellent.”
The Town manager was pleased to see more goals from midfield and wide areas with Teddy Bishop netting his second in three games.
“Another one for Bish. I think Oli Hawkins did brilliantly with the goal, I thought he had a great game, Hawkins,” he said.
“Bish ran off the ball, everyone knows he can run off people, he creates running the other way and if we can keep him fit we’ve got another asset.”
Lambert was also delighted with summer signing Hawkins’s first league start and explained his decision to name the former Portsmouth man in his XI in place of James Norwood.
“I just thought Oli gives us something different,” he continued. “I don’t mean physically or anything like that. He’s got a really good touch as well and I knew he’d be a handful. On another day he could have had a hat-trick. It paid off.”
He says that despite his side being top of the table, it’s still very early days: “There’s a long, long way, we’ve so many games. We’ve the EFL Trophy coming up [Gillingham at home a week on Tuesday] when we’ll try and play the kids.
“We’ve got a few knocks as well, which is not great and with the number of games we have to play, it’s a crazy situation, a crazy time for everybody in the world of football.”
Winger Alan Judge was again missing from the 18 but Lambert says the Irish international, who picked up a hamstring problem in the Fulham Carabao Cup tie, should be back for the trip to the MK Dons.
“He was touch and go, he’ll be OK for next week,” he confirmed. “As I said before, Judgey would have started last week if he’d been fit. But he’ll be back next week and let’s see.”
New signing Mark McGuinness was also left out, partly as there wasn’t room for him in the squad.
“There was a bit of that, and the kid’s only just here,” Lambert added. “But I’m really happy with how he’s trained, how’s he’s come into the equation and I think Toto [Nsiala] and James [WIlson] and Woolfy [Luke Woolfenden] certainly know there’s a fight on their hands to stay in there because McGuinness I think will be a good player.”
Lambert had praise for Stephen Ward, who had a hand in both goals: “I think the biggest compliment I can give him is that his professionalism is unbelievable. Dear oh dear, if the young guys can learn from him, they’ll have no better model of a pro.
“His enthusiasm for the game, hunger for the game and just being an absolute pleasure to work with.
“A really good guy to work with and somebody you can see has been at the top of his game for a helluva long time in his life, 50-odd caps for the Irish team. He’s a top player but more importantly for me, a top person.”
The Blues made a similarly positive start last season before falling away but Lambert believes they are playing better football this time around.
“Without a doubt,” he insisted. “You guys will probably write what you want to write but my opinion is we’re playing so much good football, have so much dominance of the ball, have a lot of guys with confidence there.
“My big compliment to them is that they’ve been great in training at it and it becomes second nature to them.”
But Lambert knows there will be more difficult afternoons to come, even if he was impressed by Rochdale.
“Absolutely, credit to Rochdale, they’re a good team, they had a good result against Portsmouth last week,” he said.
“Bristol Rovers have spent a bit of money, they’re a really good side, they play a different way from a lot. Wigan were a good team. Every game is tough.”
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