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Ward: Everyone's Disappointed, the Lads Are Hurting in There
Wednesday, 25th Nov 2020 11:42

Left-back Stephen Ward felt Hull City’s greater ruthlessness was the difference between the sides during Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to the League One leaders at Portman Road. Ward says everyone in the dressing room was hurting after the game and knows they need to play better and react when Charlton visit Portman Road on Saturday.

Mallik Wilks put the visitors in front in the second minute, Josh Magennis made it two in first-half injury time and sub Tom Eaves made it three with 13 minutes left to end Town’s home league 100 per cent record.

“They came with a game plan. I don’t think the score reflects the game went in terms of what we did on the ball and the positions we got in,” the 35-year-old said after the match.

“But at this level when you’re going to win a league, you’ve got to take your chances, you’ve got to be ruthless in both boxes.

“That’s probably the difference tonight, they were a bit more streetwise than us, we were just not as ruthless as maybe we could have been. And that’s the disappointing thing.”

The former Republic of Ireland international agreed it’s a lesson he and his colleagues need to learn quickly.

“One hundred per cent, we know that as a team,” he added. “We’re very pleasing on the eye, we play good football, we can dominate games. Like I said, it’s just getting that little bit more of a ruthless streak in us.

“From everyone, not just the front lads. Up front, at the back, throughout the midfield, we’ve got to be a bit stronger because when we have the ball, you can see in most games, we can dominate for long periods.

“On the turnover maybe we just need to be a little bit more ruthless in getting the ball back and getting back into our shape and making ourselves a bit more difficult.

“But listen, we’ve not been like that all season. We haven’t conceded many goals like that, we’ve been quite resilient, quite solid.

“But when we’re playing a team that’s up there, you maybe need to have that little bit more ruthlessness that we didn’t have tonight.”

No one needs reminding that the Blues are still to beat only Accrington of the teams in the top 10 this season, having defeated only Fleetwood and Gillingham, both 1-0 away, of the 10 teams that finished above them in the last campaign.

In addition to Hull, Town have lost at Doncaster, 4-1, Lincoln, 1-0, and Sunderland, 2-1 so far this season.

But Ward insists the Blues are capable of taking three points from one of their fellow challengers.

“Of course we can,” he said. “If you look at all three of those games, I don’t think we were outplayed or overawed in any of the games. Like I said, maybe there is that stigma that we can’t [beat the top teams] but of course we believe we can, we just maybe have to learn from the games where we’ve not won.

“Credit to Hull, they had a good away performance, but you wouldn’t say they came and outplayed us or out-footballed us but they were just more ruthless and that’s the bit that we need to get into our game.

“From last year, the lads have said the same, we maybe struggled against the top six. It’s something we need to work on.

“Starting Saturday we need to show against a decent Charlton team, who are going to be up there, we need to bounce back, we need to reflect on what we didn’t do right in the games we have lost because in a lot of the other games we’ve done well.

“But those games, we have to have a look at ourselves and look at how we approach them and how we turn the record around and get a result against one of these teams.”

Following the Addicks’ visit, the Blues have away trips to Oxford and Plymouth but Ward dismissed the suggestion that that makes Saturday’s match an even bigger fixture.

“Every game’s big,” he insisted. “If you’ve got aspirations of getting promoted, every game’s a massive game, no matter who you’re playing.

“The three points against Shrewsbury is the same as three points against Hull, against Portsmouth. It’s important we react.

“When you lose a game it’s massive that you show character that bottle that you can come back and get a result after it, and that’s what we need to do. We’ll recover and we’ll get ready to go again.”

Asked what it was like in the dressing room, the Dubliner said: “Everyone’s disappointed, we’ve got what we needed to say off our chests after the performance. And we move on, we learn from it, we’ve got a lot of good young players in that dressing room, a lot of lads will strive to go on in their careers, there's real talent in there. Anything we can do or any little pointers [we can give].

“There’s no pointing fingers, we’re in it as a collective and that’s the most important thing. And as a team we know the performance tonight at times was really good, but there were a lot of areas, especially in both boxes, that we can do better.

“The more the younger lads learn, and we’re still learning as senior pros, you’ve got to pull it all together and that starts Saturday again.”

Quizzed on whether it was an open forum with everyone getting their say, not just the more senior players, he added: “We’re all in it together, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 19, 20, 30, 31, 32, we’re in it as a team, everyone’s striving for the same thing. Everyone wants this club to get promoted.

“So, whether you’re playing well, you’re not playing well, you’ve had a good game, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got an opinion, you say it and everyone takes it on board.

“And that’s the way it should be at a club because, like I said, we want to get promoted so if there’s anything to be said, it’ll be said and then you move on and you go again. We reflect and we go again and we show our character on Saturday.”

Reflecting on the current injury situation with Jon Nolan (groin), Gwion Edwards (hamstring), James Wilson (knee), Teddy Bishop Ankle), Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes (both knee) all sidelined at present, and with Freddie Sears having suffered a hamstring injury last night, Ward said: “That’s been tough, it’s not an excuse but it has been tough, we’ve lost a lot of key players, even as far back as Cole and Flynn.

“We’ve lost a lot of key players, we’ve got players coming back now, Nors [James Norwood] I thought was really good tonight, looked really sharp, looked back to himself. We’ve got Aaron Drinan coming back, Kane Vincent-Young’s not too far away hopefully.

“Listen, losing Teddy and Nolo for this game was a big blow at the weekend, but we’ve got a strong enough squad, that’s not an excuse, that’s something that every team is going to have to contend with this season, especially with games coming thick and fast.”

Does he believe the young players in the squad are mentally tough enough for a League One promotion battle?

“They’ll have to be,” he responded. “They’re learning on the job, so any experience that they have, I’m sure they’ll all take something from tonight’s game.

“I feel that we’ve got a really mentally strong group, a good mix of youth and experience and, like I said, they’re learning. A defeat like that, as a player you reflect on it and it can only make you stronger and I’m sure that will be the case for a lot of us tonight.”

Looking ahead to December and the return of up to 4,000 fans to Portman Road for the visit of Portsmouth, Ward believes that will give the Blues a boost.

“Brilliant, yes, Fingers crossed,” he said. “We’ve missed the fans in here. I’ve obviously not played in front of anyone, even family members being able to come to the games. It’s been tough with your family not being able to come and cheer you on and support you.

“So that’ll be a real lift and I’m sure whatever numbers we can get in here, they’ll be loud and they’ll get behind the team because we’ve missed them and you need them in your home games, especially games like tonight. You do miss them.”

Ward is aware that there is negativity among the support, particularly after Tuesday’s result, but accepts that that comes with the territory and he hopes fans will stay behind their side.

“Listen, that’s the nature of playing for a big club, and we are a big club in this division,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we will give it our best to get promoted, we will work as hard as we can and having the fans behind us will be an extra man for us really.

“I would hope they’ll stay with us as long as possible. We know we need to play better and react but let me tell you the lads are hurting in there tonight and we want it as much as anyone.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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MrTown added 11:50 - Nov 25
How many times have we heard this crap after a heavy defeat

TimmyH added 11:51 - Nov 25
Believe me Stephen you're not hurting more than us the supporters, we've had years of it and it never goes away. You've only been here a few months!

martin587 added 11:52 - Nov 25
I’m sorry but the score does relate to how the team played.They scored three goals and won.It’s ok to say you must raise the game for Saturday but it should be like that every game.Enough said.🤦‍♂️

hammo56 added 11:53 - Nov 25
Wondered how long it would be before a player was wheeled out to give us the usual pep talk crap.
As they say somethings never change.

ThaiBlue added 12:00 - Nov 25
Your not hurting as much as the poor fans who have to put up with this rubbish every week,and lambert has to go enough is enough

Nobbysnuts added 12:01 - Nov 25
Looks like ward lost rock,paper,scissors and its his turn to come out and talk a load of guff.......yawn yawn yawn....

RobITFC added 12:03 - Nov 25
Yaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn!! Deja Vu

d77sgw added 12:05 - Nov 25
Its the polar opposite of McCarthy-era Town. Then we were the team that would surrender possession and make every game competitive - which meant we very rarely get turned over, and often won ugly. Of course that %s style of footie also meant that we often struggled to beat 'smaller' clubs too, and were going nowhere in the Championship. Now we're trying to play attractive football, dominating possession (albeit at a lower level) but just aren't very good at it.... Difficult to see how Lambert gets us out of the division at the moment.

Ipswichbusiness added 12:09 - Nov 25
He talks of being “ruthless” and “streetwise”. Yet both he and Chambers are very experienced defenders and Woolfenden and Nsiala have played enough games to know what’s what.

KenHancocksBoot added 12:10 - Nov 25
We've heard it all once too often. Time for Mr Lambert to go. He's lost the fans, and by the last few performances the dressing room too

trncbluearmy added 12:13 - Nov 25
Players coming off the pitch did not look as if they hurting to much


BlueandTruesince82 added 12:30 - Nov 25
Yep like they hurt after relegation and after the dross of last year yet nothing changes nor with it.

We gave Lambo the benefit of the doubt and that has expired

aas1010 added 12:36 - Nov 25
Same old tripe

sw20tractor added 12:39 - Nov 25
Apart from the first few games, Ward has been a disappointment in my eyes. Looks way to slow and often out of position. I can’t actually recall him, or any recent town full back come to that, being able to prevent a cross from coming into the box!
There is a reason the majority of attacks from the opposition are coming down his side.
By the way Stephen, Hull were far superior to us last night. They didn’t get out of first gear and hammered us it was embarrassing. Please don’t say it was just down to ruthlessness, you take us all for fools.

ArnieM added 12:45 - Nov 25
I’m no longer interested in the “ talk” that comes out of the Club by either the players , or manager. It’s ACTIONS that matter now, and tbh that has always been the only thing that matters.

Shut the clap trap and step up to the plate and take the game to the opposition and try changing tactics a bit . It isn’t going to kill you Lambert!!!

PortmanTerrorist added 12:55 - Nov 25
This would cut more ice if Mr Ward had not broken the world record of back passes in one game. Bet his passing stats were brilliant!

There was some pride in 2 of our own doing themselves justice last night in McGavin and Josh Emmanuel. Shame they were not both in our side though my issues with Chambers were not re his performance but re his role as captain. Time to give Dozzell the armband on Saturday ?

Skip73 added 12:57 - Nov 25
Cue another defeat On Saturday then.

MonkeyAlan added 13:00 - Nov 25
Softies for players. No bite, no muscle. Tapping it around at the back does nothing. The opposition just sits back and watches. Lambert is clueless, the players are weak as water and the owner is a muppet.

Kirbmeister added 13:10 - Nov 25
We’re a mid table league 1 side at best. Can’t see that changing for years. Depressing.

TJS added 13:15 - Nov 25
Owner, Director of Football, Manager and Captain are all locked into their comfort zone of endless mediocrity and failure.
Happy to accept defeat in all cup competitions and before you know you're happy to accept defeat in the league as well..


marco007 added 13:27 - Nov 25
Well I can see why Lambo signed you as you are from the same school of spin!
Let's be honest, we have been playing terrible for many many weeks and our current position has been inflated by a few flaky home wins that resulted in as much with the opposition's incompetence as our own skills.
Us Town fans have seen so many false dawns that we are oblivious to all the talk.....SHOW US ACTIONS ON THE PITCH....not just words!

ArnieM added 13:29 - Nov 25
“Dozzell, Captain “.....really ????

TractorRoyNo1 added 13:41 - Nov 25
Do your talking on the pitch, fed up with players excuses and managers bullsh!t

Pencilpete added 13:43 - Nov 25
Pity they weren't hurting this much at half time and put up more of a fight in the second half !

vanmunt added 14:12 - Nov 25
Looks like we are happy to be a top half league one side. Next year the costs are slashed for ME, he can sell all the youngsters in the guise of balancing the books and ITFC slowly but surely disappear into irrelevance. Saturday was woeful and last night was plain pathetic, I actually feel sorry for the season ticket holders that get selected too watch this tripe.

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