Ward: We Believe in the Manager and in His Philosophies
Friday, 15th Jan 2021 10:33
Town veteran Stephen Ward is adamant that he and his colleagues are firmly behind boss Paul Lambert despite an allegation this week that there is a dressing room mutiny at Portman Road.
That claim, made on the Football Insider website, was firmly denied by the former Republic of Ireland international defender today when he was asked if it was true that there was disharmony behind the scenes.
“No, not at all, 100 per cent,” insisted Ward. “We believe in the manager and we believe in his philosophies and what he wants us to achieve.
“What the manager is asking of us is only what we should be expecting of ourselves. He knows the quality of the squad and he’s as frustrated as we are because we’re not delivering what he wants.”
Town travel to rock-bottom Burton tomorrow after slumping to a 3-2 home defeat last week by a Swindon team that came into the game just one place off the League One basement and having taken a solitary point from their previous six games.
Ward, 35, added: “As a squad, especially over the last few weeks, we’ve won games but not played as well as we can. Sometimes that can be a positive but I think it probably caught up with us last weekend.
“But everyone here is completely on the same page. There’s not one bit of disharmony and everyone wants to achieve promotion. That’s how it is.
“Of course, people are going to be disappointed with themselves and there will be harsh words to each other when they’re not doing the business.
“But that’s only because people want to win and want to achieve what we want for this club this season.”
Asked how the Swindon setback had affected dressing room morale, Ward continued: “As you can probably guess it has been a tough week in terms of getting our heads round the performance that we put in.
“Everyone was very disappointed, especially after we hadn’t played for a few weeks.
“That only enhanced the disappointment because we were desperate to get back to playing.
“We were on a decent little run before we got hit by the virus and we wanted to keep it ticking over.
“We all knew it wasn’t good enough on Saturday as a group of players and we’ve addressed that this week.
“We’ve had a look at the game again and seen where we weren’t good enough and where we need to improve. It has been a good week in terms of that.
“Everyone put their cards on the table as to where we need to improve and get better, and what we’ve not been doing over the last five or six weeks.
“Obviously, in terms of getting players back, it has been a good, positive week and it has given us a real lift on the training pitch. The squad now looks as if it has real depth to it and that’s something we’ve been missing for a long period of the season.”
Ward not only revealed there had been a clear-the-air meeting between manager, staff and players, but that he and a number of team-mates had conducted their own get-togethers in an attempt to find solutions as to why the Swindon defeat – with the first-half display described by manager Lambert as Town’s worst this season – had been so below par.
He added: “We all get together, we’re all really close and we’ve got a real good team spirit. It’s a real good dressing room and we’re not naïve enough to think that the performance against Swindon was anywhere near where it should be for a club and a squad like this.
“We’ve had sit-downs over cups of tea, just generally and outside where we can, and chatted away about where we need to improve.
“We also had a general meeting with the staff, which was very positive in the end because I think it’s as clear as day when you can see the images of the game and it shows where we need to improve and also what we’ve not done well over the last few games.
“All in all, I thought last week’s result was a negative one but this week has been positive in terms of getting everybody’s cards on the table and seeing exactly what we need to be doing going forward.
“The league is very strange this year. It’s very tight and if you go on any sort of winning run – three or four games in a row – it completely changes the picture again.
“We’ve still got 27 games left so it was the perfect time to sort of regroup and see exactly where we need to improve and what we need to do going forward.”
Ward also revealed he was one of the eight Town players laid low by the recent Covid outbreak at Portman Road, which forced the cancellation of four league fixtures.
“It’s a strange season for everyone,” he said. “If you look at the results in recent weeks there have been some really strange ones with teams you would have expected to win not being able to do it.
“There’s no excuse culture at this club – the manager wouldn’t let that happen – but when you look at what’s happened over the course of the season we have had a lot of injuries and we had the virus that interrupted the mini run we were on.
“We’ve got a lot of bodies back in the squad, a lot of key players that we were missing, and that’s got to be a positive. Training has been really sharp this week and the squad is much stronger than what we’ve had over the past seven weeks or so.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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