|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Doncaster Rovers|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 27th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert: We've Got the Momentum at the Minute
Saturday, 27th Feb 2021 19:02
Town boss Paul Lambert was again encouraged by the Blues' display as they beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at Portman Road and feels his side, which is up to eighth, has momentum at present having gone four games without a defeat and after winning back-to-back matches for the first time since October.
"It's another encouraging performance. We played with a lot of courage, heart, determination and spirit and played some good football," he said.
“We’re 10 points off of second with a game in hand, that’s not beyond us. We’re right on the cusp of the play-offs, with a few games in hand.
"We have beaten two teams at the top. We had a good game against Oxford [0-0 last week], we drew with Northampton [0-0], we beat Blackpool [2-0], so the form is decent, the form is good form. Maybe we’re hitting form at the right moment.
“I’ve always said when we get our bigger players back, [James] Norwood and people like that this would be a different team. Really good signs.”
Reflecting on Alan Judge’s fine free-kick which opened the scoring, he said: “A brilliant goal, he’s got it in his locker to do that. We practice free-kicks at training with the guys and thankfully that went in.
“It’s a terrific goal, I don’t think any goalkeeper could save it. I know it’s this side, whether he could get across I’m not so sure. The goal was great and I just felt we looked really threatening at times today.”
He added: “Andre and Judgey, their set plays were great. We work on things in training. I think the goal is top class from a lad I think is playing really well.
“I think we deserved it because I thought we started really well. I thought we made it really difficult for them to play through and there was clever tactical stuff, clever players and lads went again on Tuesday.”
Although the defence conceded for the first time in four games, they were for the most part resolute, particularly in the latter stages as Doncaster looked for a leveller.
“The back four, the midfield four and the front two, I thought the shape was great a lot of the time, it made it difficult to play through us,” Lambert reflected.
“They were going wide a lot, we had to defend wide things, as long as they don’t cut you open and try and play through you. We defended strongly and the performance was really, really encouraging.
“We had some moments where we rode our luck at times, where guys have thrown their bodies in, but that’s football. I never felt we were really cut open against a really good side.”
Does he believe the squad has the potential to be in the shake-up for the play-offs? “One hundred per cent, the guys are more than capable of doing it.
“As I said before, is the top two ruled out? No, because we’re only 10 points off it with a game in hand.
“There’s a long, long way to go, a lot of football to be played, there’ll be twists and turns, you have to go Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday for a number of weeks.
“And we’ve got the momentum at the minute, and that’s a testament to the players, the guys coming back from injury, everybody being together and the fight’s there at the moment.”
Quizzed on what pleased him most about the performance, he said: “Winning, that’s the pleasing thing. We played a good game against a really good side. The shape was great, the work-rate was great after a hard game on Tuesday.
“We deserved to go 1-0 up, I thought some of the football we played when attacking was great. We defended really strongly when we had to, and I always maintained that when our better players came back it would be different.
“We’re only 10 points away from second with a game in hand with so much football still to play, loads of football to be played.
“We’re on the cusp of the top six now with a few games in hand on the teams in the top six.”
Teddy Bishop was among the Blues’ best performers having recently returned after a spell out with an ankle injury.
“He had a run of games at the start of the season and then we lost him to his ankle and he was playing great for us then,” Lambert said.
“That’s what I expect of him, I don’t expect anything less from his performances. Really pleased.”
Norwood netted his fifth goal of the season to put him level with Gwion Edwards and Jon Nolan as Town’s top scorer and Lambert was pleased with the former Tranmere man, who now appears to be over his hamstring problems, is putting in impressive performances week after week and is also finding the net on an increasingly regular basis.
“Norwood again, another good 75 minutes or so, [Troy] Parrott, I think they’ve got a really good partnership,” Lambert said.
Parrott is still to score his first senior goal but Lambert is confident that will come soon enough.
“Yes, he’s a top player, a top player,” he said. “If I can be a part of his development going forward, I think he’s going to be a really top player.”
Rovers boss Darren Moore says his side had a lot of possession but weren't good enough in the opposition area.
“We’re good with the ball but I don’t want us to just be good with the ball - I want us to be good and effective with the ball,” Moore told the Doncaster Free Press.
“We were good with it. We had large percentages of possession, when they dropped off us we played through them, when they tried to press us, we played through them.
“So I’ve got no problems with that. It’s just probably the final contact on the ball in the box that eluded us today.
“And the concentration levels at the other end just caught us out because we had limited them to few chances.
“I’m disappointed to lose a game where we relatively created enough to win it.
“I’m disappointed because we’ve conceded two basic, poor elementary goals for our standards. We’ve just got to cut them out at the end of the day.
“We had enough ball in the game, we had enough chances, we had enough possession but we didn’t capitalise on it and we’ve lost the game. We had enough to come away with something from it.”
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