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Oxford United 0 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 1st December 2020 Kick-off 19:00
Lambert: The Negativity Attached to the Club is Huge
Tuesday, 1st Dec 2020 23:10

Manager Paul Lambert hit out at “negativity attached to the football club” in his post-match press conference following the 0-0 draw at Oxford and accused the media of feeding it.

Asked for his assessment of the match, a game of few chances for both sides but with the home team having the better of them, Lambert said: “Really pleased because of what’s happening, absolute nonsense criticism, so for them to be the way they were. Half the team is kids, we’ve got nine injuries.

“I’m really pleased and proud of them with how they performed because the criticism the guys have taken I think has not been right and it’s going to make or break them.

“There are a lot of young kids there and if they don’t handle that, the club’s going to lose good players.”

Has the criticism bothered them? “You [the media] stoke it. I don’t read what you write or hear what you say. You stoke it. I know from their side that they feel it, without a doubt. They’re young kids trying really hard to play football.

“It’s not easy, the expectancy level at the club’s huge. It’s not right, there’s a lot of negativity attached to the football club, and it’s not right.”

When it was pointed out that much of the criticism has been from fans rather than the media, he said: “I’m not blaming anybody, there’s a lot of negativity attached to it. We’ve lost two games, we’re sitting in fifth, four points from first place. That’s not bad. And we’ve got nine guys out injured.

“You’re telling me we’re sitting fifth, four points off the top, OK if Hull win their two games [they’ll be further ahead], but there’s still a helluva long way to go.

“I’ll put that on record. You asked me a question, I’m giving you the answer. It’s unfair, you’ve got to watch you don’t break the kids.”

Lambert was asked whether he was concerned about his side’s lack of a goal threat with the Blues not having scored for three matches.

“Everything you say to me is negative,” he hit back. “I’d hate to be married to you! That [the players available] are what we’ve got, that’s exactly what we’ve got. They’re giving me everything. As long as they give me effort, then I’m totally fine with it.

“We’re up against brick walls with the guys that have been injured. At times we’ve lost guys from forward areas, we’ve lost a whole midfield, we’ve lost centre-backs, we’ve lost every position going. We’ve got nine players out at the minute.

“I’m not going to sit here and criticise the guys one iota. I’m the manager and I’m proud of them.”

Regarding Jon Nolan’s return after two games out with a groin injury, he added: “He shouldn’t have played, maybe he shouldn’t have played because he hasn’t done anything since the Shrewsbury game. But I had to play him because we don’t have Brett McGavin, he took ill during the night, so we had to play him.”

On Armando Dobra’s full league debut, he said: “I thought he did really well. Young kid, he’ll make mistakes like everybody else, really good.

“What you do get with Dobs is great endeavour, you’ve got a devilment there that’s going to stand him in good stead and hopefully he’ll be another good player at the club in the coming weeks, months and years hopefully.”

He said he was pleased with the clean sheet: “I am, I can’t ask any more from them. Half the guys are academy guys, young guys. The centre-backs, Woolfy’s 21, Mark McGuinness 19. Jack Lankester’s a kid, Andre Dozzell’s a kid, Dobra’s a kid. Liam Gibbs was on the bench.

“We’re so lacking in depth because of the injuries we’ve got but I’m really proud with how they played.”

The clean sheet was the first in the league for both Cornell and McGuinness since they joined the Blues.

“McGuinness, I’ve no problem with because I think he’s really good and could be excellent,” Lambert continued. “He’s strong, aggressive, he’s 19. Really, really good.

“Cornell, I thought was really good, he had one save here in the second half. I’m happy with him.”

Lambert was pleased with the impact subs Oli Hawkins and Kayden Jackson made in the second half.

“Oli gives us something different,” he reflected. “I thought Aaron Drinan and Jack Lankester did well for the first hour.

“We put Kayden on and he looked lively and Oli looked lively as well. I’m happy with how we played. We came to a difficult place.”

However, he is disappointed that Andre Dozzell will miss the trip to Plymouth having picked up his fifth booking of the season.

“That’s the way things are going,” he said. “But the point, it stops the run of two defeats. It gives us that point with a long journey on Friday and we go and try and win.”

Any chance of Emyr Huws coming back for the weekend, the midfielder having picked up a back injury in training.

“I don’t know, we’ve got too many [out],” he continued. “I’m not sure when they’re coming back. We’ll have to wait and see”

Reflecting further on an injury situation which saw 12 players - and then McGavin - unavailable, he said: “And we’re still sitting fifth, four points from the top.”

Asked whether the criticism has bothered him, he said: “Did you see what happened at Celtic the other day? The protests outside. I’ve played in front of that, I know exactly what it’s like. Does it bother me? No. Does praise bother me? No.

“I’ve played with big clubs, I’ve been a manager at big clubs. I’ve had a career when the pressure’s incredible, absolutely incredible. I’ve never wilted once and I don’t expect to wilt again, unless Marcus says something different. And that’s no problem.”

Lambert said he’d spoken to Marcus Evans after the game but said the owner hadn’t ventured into the dressing room.

“No, he wasn’t in the dressing room,” he said. “He’s pleased, we had a good chat. No problem, no stress, nothing. He was happy.”

Seven of the side were aged between 19 and 22, which Lambert feels puts the result into context when playing against a more senior Oxford side, who may be down in 20th at present but had a much better 2019/20.

“We don’t have anything else, we have to play the guys,” he said. “And we played against a really experienced team. They’re a good team, they were in the play-offs last year. Karl’s got a good team, so the point was good.”

The other side of that is that Oxford hadn’t kept a league or play-off clean sheet since February, 19 games ago and the Blues managed their first shot on goal in the 90th minute.

Is it fair to say his team didn’t create enough chances? “Yeah, but we’re doing everything we can. The big thing for us was not to lose, definitely not to lose.

“We gave it everything, that little bit of quality is maybe just missing at the minute but the endeavour and the work-rate and everything that goes with it, I’m really pleased.

Coming back to the criticism, it was pointed out that in the last 42 league games they have lost more than they’ve won in a division in which a club of their size ought to thrive.

“You’re one of he guys that the players have got a gripe with because of the negativity you write is incredible,” Lambert responded.

“I don’t read your stuff. You’re probably better hearing it from them. But they’re certainly not happy with you. And I get it because the negativity attached to it is incredible.

“They’re at a big club, some of them are young, some of them have come from different teams. It’s a massive club Ipswich Town, but the negativity attached to it is huge.

“That’s just my opinion on it, but there are a lot of young guys in there, who have to perform.”

Does he feel the criticism is unfair on young players? “And the older guys.”

Last week Lambert was asked about claims he had been harder on younger players himself, something he dismissed before turning back to the summer furore regarding a number of young players not being included in the first-team photo call.

“No I wasn’t,” he insisted. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you right now. You want to go on record here? The photo thing that you wrote or one of your colleagues wrote was a load of nonsense because the kids got told [they weren't involved], and [assistant manager] Stuart Taylor told you what actually happened - we couldn’t get them in because of NHS stuff.

“But you go and write a negative thing about them and it filters right through. How does that work? Tell me how it works.”

It was pointed out that the players - Dobra, McGavin, Drinan, Idris El Mizouni, Corrie Ndaba and - weren’t in the squad photo.

“Exactly, and you still go ahead and write it,” Lambert continued. “Because they couldn’t be because NHS is only three letters [the players and staff formed the letters NHS in a socially distanced team photo]. Am I right or wrong?”

Lambert added: “You go and write negativity, it goes right through the club. I’ll tell you what I will do, I’ll stick up for them, I’ll stick up for every player in the dressing room, every guy in the dressing room, I’ll put you in your place because what you’re writing is garbage. I’m telling you you’re creating something that’s incredible.”

When Lambert came in as boss just over two years ago he spoke about the negativity and apathy at the club at that time.

“There was no anger because people had switched off from supporting the club,” he recalled. “I spoke to the Blue Action guys, they told me about the apathy here. I spoke to them all.”

Does Lambert believe the media are feeding or reflecting the negativity? “I think you’re feeding it. You can have a go at me all you want. I’ve been in the game a long time and it’s not helping the guys, it’s not helping them.”

Photo: Pagepix

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alztar added 23:13 - Dec 1
We are through the looking glass now

wkj added 23:17 - Dec 1
Just resign Paul, you're not up to the task and your words are venom. You're a crap football manager and always have been.

OwainG1992 added 23:18 - Dec 1
Hmmm. its getting tetchy now. I worry there is no way past this.

dominiciawful added 23:18 - Dec 1

TimmyH added 23:19 - Dec 1
I'll be very positive once Lambert has gone...lucky to be here now, obviously he wants the press to get off his back but his record here just isn't good enough and performances are average at best.

cat added 23:23 - Dec 1
Pressures building, last stand from a condemned manager. Rattle & Pram coming soon!

DoseOfReality added 23:23 - Dec 1
And most of those kids wouldn’t get a kick at another club in this league yet we rely on them.

Lambert is right they need help .. like some decent senior pro signings.

Evans is a complete failure for this club .. he has killed it & we are destined for lge 2 after yet more years of boredom.

BlueBlood90 added 23:25 - Dec 1
The brass neck of this guy is just staggering.

HE was the one who dug out Brett McGavin publicly a couple of weeks ago and was saying that the young players who are 19+ need to grow up whilst defending his underperforming senior players.

Surely Marcus Evans isn’t so delusional and out of touch that he can’t see how united the fan base is in wanting Lambert out. His position has become completely untenable and there’s absolutely no way he can ever turn this around.

casanovacrow added 23:26 - Dec 1
The club caused the negativity in the fans and media and not the other way around. But yup, it's a vicious cycle.
Evans needs to oversee a major overhaul on and off the field to change that, too many people at the club are irreversibly contaminated with acceptance of failure and need to be cut out.

Suffolkboy added 23:29 - Dec 1
If he doesn’t see it and doesn’t read it just where is he getting his information , right or wrong !
He gives the clear impression of a chap in the last chance saloon with very few bullets left,and not sure he’ll know when or how to pull the trigger .
Looks like trouble ahead : many bridges to be crossed and many bridges to be built !

munstermanagement added 23:33 - Dec 1
It's all very "last days of Trump".

jabberjackson added 23:35 - Dec 1
His position is untenable
Hates EADT
Not keen on Brenner
Not Phil’s biggest fan
Dead man walking

Counagoal added 23:37 - Dec 1
PiS$ off you incompetent w@nker

danose added 23:38 - Dec 1
deary me

Ryorry added 23:38 - Dec 1
Clearly an emotional outburst, and what's coming through it all for me is that he's seriously p'd off with the fitness coach situation, ie ME has said he won't replace Henry who, having left & headed back to Scotland, is now allegedly going to "do"* the job from 400 miles away as a consultancy. *How can a "fitness coach" do that?!

Having said all that, to come out with this - “Everything you say to me is negative,” he hit back. “I’d hate to be married to you! " - is a new low, demonstrating that he really has lost it now.


Len_Brennan added 23:41 - Dec 1
This is awful stuff, I'm actually a bit taken aback by it.
Hiding behind the players; pushing them forward as though the criticism is mainly at them, at "young kids" rather than at him. It's cowardly.
Does anyone believe that the criticism and pressure doesn't get to him?, especially when he has to go & reference who he used to be, in EVERY interview he gives. He's trying to convince himself that it doesn't bother him first & foremost.
One thing is absolutely certain, he'll neither play for, nor manage, another big club in the future.

Kropotkin123 added 23:41 - Dec 1
Shame on you Paul Lambert. Shame on you.

DifferentGravy added 23:47 - Dec 1
Talking out of his @rse. Desperately trying to twist the facts...or perhaps to aggravate the situation so much that Evans has no alternative but to give him the flick.....and a nice pay out

Lambert is the one who is being negative, playing a 4-5-1 every game, trying to grind out a win with one shot on goal!

Lambert is the one throwing youngsters in at the deep end when we have fit and experienced players sitting on the bench. Gibbs......poor lad, not had a sniff of the first team and then starting against Charlton. Dobra.....fans have been baffled by the lack of match day squad inclusion....the forgotten man.....suddenly hes starting.

The fans have been incredibly supportive of the youngsters and i struggle to think of many negative comments made about them on this website. However, there seem to be a significant percentage who hold Lambert responsible for our ON FIELD demise over the last 2+ seasons. Lets not forget that he did little or nothing to abate our free fall from the championship. We tumbled down the league last season.....and here we find ourselves again. I take in to account the horrific injury situation......but how does this excuse performances prior to it? I had watched almost every game this season.... we were average(at best) and incredibly fortunate in a number of them.......now being found out

Irrespective of his real intentions i find his comments absolutely pathetic and has lost any credibility in my eyes.

Win percentage doesnt lie. Lambert out........................COYB

Carberry added 23:49 - Dec 1
He's resorted to threatening behaviour and that must signal the end of his relationship with the fans and the press. He's sadly incapable of not talking about himself at every turn. The Celtic reference just shows he s living in another place, still thinking his past is somehow connected to his present. It's very sad because his record speaks for itself, a losing manager with an appalling win record with us. The sunset beckons him to end another nightmare chapter in our history. But of course it's all our fault isnt it?

chorltonskylineblue added 23:53 - Dec 1
"Dear oh dear". The criticism is of you Lambert, as you well know. And it's you who has been digging out the youngsters all season

SingBlue added 23:57 - Dec 1
Oh good he’s our manager....Somebody we can all get behind and go that extra mile with! It seems to me that he’s actually trying to build an us against them mentality in the dressing room (against the press) as a last chance saloon - I guess he’s got nothing else left

eddiespearitt03 added 23:58 - Dec 1
To be fair, it is the anonymous Marcus Evans that has thrown Paul Lambert under the bus. It is Evans who has distanced himself from the supporters and the town. It is 13 years of "to and fro" PR spin and battle cry's that have amounted to nothing in substance. It has been Clegg,Milne and now O,Neil all trying to stem the flow of sadness and disappointment. Everyone except Evans. Why is he still at this club ? Unfortunately Lambert rode into town with all this resentment laying dormant. McCarthy struggled, Hurst got sacked and now Lambert is facing the critics. The football has been poor for many seasons. The ownership is a disgrace. The injury list is ridiculous. A wage bill that is supplementing too many non starters. The fact that we are not taking much interest in cup competitions is just another little gripe. Is that the new ITFC policy sanctioned by Evans. ( concentrate on promotion) A club owner who seems to be hanging around for just a promotion pay day or another asset sold . Selling the talent and filling the gap with anyone cheap enough. Paul Lambert is bearing the brunt of a 13 years stagnation.

PSGBlue added 00:00 - Dec 2
Yes, agreed we have plenty of injuries. But that is today’s excuse. What about all the other performances and poor displays over the past 6 or 7 seasons. To be fair to PL, it’s not all his fault. ME is the main man who just leaves PL out to dry. But a succession of poor managers and players have lead up to tonight’s game, it’s an accumulation of 13 years neglect.

How low have have will fallen when PL is making up the excuse of injuries, when we cannot beat (or even score against) a poor Oxford team in league 1. I now see the good old days of finishing sixth in the Championship with McGoldrick and Murphy up front. At the time I looked back to Stewart, Johnson and Naylor up front. Who turn didn’t compare with Marnier, Wark or Brazil.

Since winning the UEFA cup it’s been a slow decline to where we are today!

marco5113 added 00:01 - Dec 2
football managers are judged on results NOT performances. what is the point in having good performances and not get promotion, supporters want RESULTS.

lambert trying to deflect the blame from himself, sorry paul it is simply put YOUR JOB.

lucky he does not work in a everyday job as other workers do. possibly would be on a final written warning by now.

billythefish added 00:12 - Dec 2
Blaming the critics for putting pressure on the team. Sounds like he is out of his depth. Why so many injuries, what goes on behind the scenes

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