|Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Northampton Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 16th February 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Lambert: Something Drastically Wrong Going Right Through the Club and It’s Not Good Enough
Tuesday, 16th Feb 2021 23:03
Boss Paul Lambert accepted the Blues’ display as they drew 0-0 at home with lowly Northampton wasn’t good enough but said he wasn’t going to be “the only one to blame” and cited a longer term malaise at the club, although stopping short of blaming owner Marcus Evans for Town's decline.
In a rambling post-match press conference Lambert was asked what he made of the draw in which the Blues managed only a single shot on target against a team which went into the match second-bottom, climbing two places as a result of their point.
“It wasn’t good enough, it’s not been good enough for a number of weeks now,” he admitted. “I’m not going to stand here and be the only one to blame, there are a few others there. I made that mistake in the past, I’m never doing it again. Collectively we’re having a hard time without a doubt and tonight wasn’t good enough.”
Does that mean the players are letting him down? “I just think it’s the whole thing, the whole thing, the way everything is. I couldn’t ask any more effort-wise from them.
“They’re a young team, I’m loath to criticise players and that’s the way I’ve always been and they’re young and they’ll come through things like this.
“This is probably a learning curve for them in a lot of aspects and they have to deal with the pressure of a big club, all those sorts of thing that come with it, but they’ll come through it.”
Are there too many young players? “That’s what we’ve got at the minute. We’ve so many games, Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday, I’ve tried to get the balance right so everybody’s going to be OK with it.
“It was the forward areas where we were struggling with it. We never really tested the keeper until Nors, who I felt did well when he came on, he had the chance.
“I thought we should have had a penalty with Judgey’s one. I’ve seen it back, it was a trailing leg that got him and I think it’s a penalty.”
Asked why he felt the display was so under par, the Blues having been far better in their last home game against Blackpool, did the weekend events at Shrewsbury have an impact?
“No excuses there, if the game was on or not, no excuses travelling,” he said. “You only make these excuses when you don’t win or you don’t get a result.
“From the Blackpool game there was only one change, Judgey was out and then Josh [Harrop] came in, I had to get him up to speed, so that was the only change.
“It just looked a nervy one for some reason the way they were. Whether yesterday [the Blue Action protest and resultant small fire] affected them I don’t know because they’re young. It wasn’t great, I don’t think that was real Ipswich fans, that. It wasn’t great.”
Quizzed on how he felt about that incident, he said: “It’s funny because I was facing away from it and I thought it was just a fire and I just turned around and saw it.
“But I’m old, I’m 51, I’ve seen all these things before, I’ve been in major crises before, for me this is no nice but it’s not something where you think ‘OK…” but the younger ones, some of them 18 and we were training against the younger kids yesterday. You have to come through it.”
Does the strength of feeling among fans, illustrated by the protest, bother him? “You don’t know me that well. Everybody gets hurt, you’re raging inside at times like that
“But it’s very hard to explain because I played with Celtic for nine years when you guys don’t know what it’s like up the road when it’s life off the pitch, everything’s scrutinised, everything is scrutinised. Dortmund is huge.
“I played for huge clubs but for me it’s different from how it is for these young ones. The older ones as well, it’ll be hard for them.”
Lambert says he understands why fans are angry: “One hundred per cent, for God’s sake, 100 per cent. I hate it that the club’s in the position it’s in. I hate the way it’s went, not just this year, but for I don’t know how many years
“So why the hell’s it happened? Why’s everything gone the way it has? I don’t know. We’ve been here two and a bit years. This is a cumulation of years. And I get it 100 per cent, but I’m loath to sit here and say the last nine, 10, 11, 12 years of no success is my fault.
“Mick McCarthy did an unbelievable job here in the Championship and that turned sour towards the end.
“Mick McCarthy had an incredible time here, albeit in the play-offs but never took that step up, but did a great job here.”
Lambert dismissed suggestions that this evening’s performance was a concern, that he might worry that the players aren’t playing for him.
“I’ve seen the fight, I couldn’t ask any more of the fight,” he said. “Flynn showed that. I think Flynn Downes is going to be a real top player because he’s got that devilment in him. I’m really happy with how he plays and how he fights.
“Judgey I thought came on and did great, Norwood did well when he came on, but we just lacked that little bit of cutting edge.”
The Scot admitted it was a missed opportunity to close in on the top six with few other clubs in action this evening but believes the Blues are far from out of the running.
“We’re four points off it with a couple of games in hand, but you tend not to look at that,” he said. “You’ve got to look at what’s happening now, albeit it’s still well, well within the club’s capabilities to do it. You don’t really look at that side of it.”
Can he turn things around if he’s given the chance to do so? “You better ask the main guy [owner Evans]. We try our best, we try everything we can do. Are we frustrated? Yes. Are we angry? Yes. Everything, absolutely everything.
“I come out and see you guys and put a face on but deep down it’s a different kettle of fish.”
Does he believe he deserves the chance to turn things around? “You only get in football what you deserve with hard work, you’ve got to come through the good, bad and indifferent.
“With experience you tend to know how to handle it but you’ve got to come through bad moments.”
Asked whether he believes Marcus has his back, he said: “Well, listen, you never know. Nobody knows anything, but I think everybody at the football club needs to take a good look at themselves as well, everybody, at what’s happened at this club, there’s no way it should have happened, but it has happened.
“I get Marcus puts a helluva lot of money in but it’s a build-up of years and years and years and I totally get it, but the football club needs a bit of help, without a doubt.”
Any thoughts of walking away? “No, I don’t think about walking away just after a game, I just think about the game, I don’t think about anything like that. I wait and talk with the staff after the game and we’ll see.”
In saying the situation is a culmination of events, does that mean it’s down to the owner? “No, you’re trying to put words into my mouth. I think what’s happened to the club over however many years, in years gone by and the frustration that comes with that. The club should never have been the way it is.
“There’s been something drastically wrong going right through it and it’s not good enough, that’s the bottom line.
“If somebody puts X amount of money into a football club like Marcus has done, nobody can point the finger at that because that’s been an incredible amount of money and what’s happened to it.”
So what is it? “It’s everything, for me it’s everything. Structure, everything. It’s not right. One hundred per cent it’s not right, the structure.”
Asked who and what he is angry with, he added: “Everything, everything, absolutely everything. You know, a manager takes the whole thing on his neck and on his shoulders.
“I’m not going to be that lamb to the slaughter when I know there are things wrong here that shouldn’t be wrong. I’m loath to criticise anybody but collectively this is not right.
“Forty years ago, Terry Butcher, unbelievable, John Wark, unbelievable, Paul Mariner, unbelievable guys, top guys.
“They must be looking at it and thinking ‘What the hell’s happened here?’. They must be. It’s horrendous. That guy there and that guy there [Bobby Robson and Alf Ramsey, pointing to the stands], it’s criminal.”
Given that only one man pulls the strings, who else can he be directing his anger towards but the owner.
“There is, aye, but he’s put in an unbelievable amount of money,” he said. “I don’t think you can have ‘one blame culture’, I think it’s everything.”
And how do you put that right? “My opinion is that everyone has to get round the table and they strip it back, they have to because it’s not moving and if things aren’t done behind the scenes to try and get them going and to give him some advice, whether it comes nobody knows, but I definitely think we have to get round the table and stop this feeling that’s around here.”
Is your frustration that everything is directed towards you as the manager? “One hundred per cent. That’s always the case.
“Absolutely, there’s got to be a sit down at this football club to see where it’s going.”
Are you prepared to ask the owner to have that sort of discussion? “We’ve spoken, he knows my feelings on a lot of stuff. He knows, he’s not a silly guy.
“I get on well with the guy, no problem. But you’ve got to put friendship aside at certain times in football. At the minute, this cannot go on.”
Do you feel you’ve not got the tools at your disposal for things to be better than they are? Do you feel you’re doing your best with what’s at your disposal?
“And I can’t ask for any more effort,” he reiterated. “As a manager, all you ever ask of people is effort, whether the quality comes, nobody knows.
“There are a lot of young guys there who only know this club as well, they don’t know anything else. They’re having a hard time at the minute, so are the other guys.
“What they give is unbelievable effort, they give you absolutely everything. I’m not going to criticise them on that.”
Town have won just four of their last 14 games and taken 23 points from 20 matches. Regardless of any issues with the structure and anything else at the club, and Lambert accepts that it should be much better.
“It’s not good enough, 100 per cent,” he said. “I can’t argue with that.”
Northampton caretaker-manager Jon Brady felt his team's performance deserved a win rather than a draw.
“It’s a good point but when I look at the performance I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get all three,” he told the Cobblers official site.
“If you look at the stats for the first half we had six shots to Ipswich’s none and we are the away side.
“Their keeper made an incredible save from Peter Kioso on to the bar and it won’t show in the stats but we also had a really good chance just after half-time.
“You could see signs of a performance on Saturday, we knew what we were trying to do and what we are trying to implement.
“This is an intelligent group, they will work hard for each other and they are expressing themselves.
“We were decisive in our defensive third tonight, we need to be a little bit more decisive at the other end but that will come.
“We are building from back to front, we are getting more crosses in, more shots off and the goals will come. The only way for us now is forward, we went toe-to-toe with Ipswich on a top class pitch.”
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