Chambers speaks openly about Evans, McCarthy, contracts, budget, entertainment value, pitch and more – read full transcript
PUBLISHED: 16:58 12 March 2018
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Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers has spoken candidly about a range of issues, from owner Marcus Evans, manager Mick McCarthy, contracts, budget, entertainment value, the Portman Road pitch and more. Here’s the full transcript.
Q: Nil-nil against Sheffield United is hardly the worst result in the world, but do you need more than draws at the moment? Were fans right to be disappointed at the weekend?
A: We could have picked more points off them and been in a better position challenging for the play-offs. For me it was very, very disappointing that we didn’t win the game, but we’ve won two, drawn one and if we win again on Tuesday night that would still be a big points haul considering our previous form.
“It’s a clean sheet again, we haven’t been conceding many goals in the last eight or nine games, but we need to be better going forwards.
Q: You have to beat Hull to stand any chance of the play-offs don’t you?
A: It’s a must-win. We’ve got to take that pressure in the dressing room. If you want to achieve something, albeit a slight hope, you need to be beating a team like that who are fighting for their lives.
Q: Is the boss right to say the top six is beyond you?
A: He’s obviously said that. You don’t want to admit it and we’ll still be fighting tooth and nail to get ourselves as high up the league as we can.
If that puts us in contention for the play-offs, brilliant. Until it’s mathematically out of our hands I won’t be giving up on that.
The pitch is terrible, but other teams have got to come and play on it as well so we have to make that an advantage for us or perform better.
I don’t want to giver up on what we set out to achieve this season. The last few weeks have definitely been more encouraging. We’ve definitely put in better performances, both individually and collectively, and the away form has been good.
There are positives at the moment, but you understand people’s frustrations at the weekend.
Q: August seems like a long time ago when you set off like the clappers. Does that make the current situation more frustrating?
A: I think if we’d have had a fully fit squad all season we’d be, definitely, in a better position and would have been in contention.
We’ve made mistakes, like every team in this league, but we’ve been fairly consistent and find ourselves in mid-table. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not where we want to be, but we’re still fighting way above where we probably should be in terms of budget.
I don’t want to keep going on about that, but it does come into contention.
The players that we signed last summer, if a lot of those midfield players had been fit, we might have played better football, we might have scored more goals… But these are all ifs, buts and maybes.
Q: Do you all take responsibility about the lack of goals being scored. Do you all need to take more responsibility?
A: Yeah. We’ve all got to chip in with goals. Waggy and Garns have got double figures, Besrant’s chipped in - he could probably assist more. That’s just singling out three players.
I’ve scored one goal this season – that’s not good enough. Jordan (Spence) has scored three… We do need goals from all over the pitch. We need to make that extra yard to get in the box and try and score goals and try and win games a bit more than we have done.
Q: Is the manager’s uncertain future playing a part?
A: We’ve won two and drawn one. Performances have been encouraging. We should have beaten Norwich and that disappointment that will live with me forever.
I feel the last few weeks have been positive. Yes, the football wasn’t great on Saturday. Away from home at Sheffoield Wednesday we did well though and also at Preston.
We’ve got to build on what we’ve created in the last few weeks now.
Q: A lot fans seem frustrated and bored at the moment and the manager gets a lot of flack. Some want a change at the top.
A: That’s football isn’t it? People get bored. There are lots of changes of manager throughout the league. The turnover of managers and players is massive.
People want change in every walk of life – be that football or whatever. That’s the way it is.
As players we don’t want that to happen. I wouldn’t say we’re comfortable, we want to see players coming to improve us and I do feel we are building something to challenge (for promotion) even though we should be nowhere near that.
Yes entertainment is an issue in football, but I remember when Milton Keynes Dons came up and played good football and they went straight back down.
We’re getting results, but at the end of the day people are paying their money to come and be entertained and if they are not being entertained then they are not going to come. It’s a Catch 22 scenario and I haven’t got the answers.
I’m sure the chairman and the manager will discuss their plans moving forwards. At the end of the day, as players we can only do what we have done and that’s give everything on the pitch.
Yes, I think we can take more responsibility and possibly do more in terms of scoring goals or creating chances – anything – but that’s not really what’s going through the boys’ minds. We’re performing for the manager and I feel we have done over the last few weeks.
Q: The counter-argument to the MK Dons scenario you mentioned is that a Swansea or as Bournemouth went up playing good football. The two can go hand-in-hand.
A: It can. I’m not sure what those two clubs budgets were. These aren’t things I can really comment on.
Yes I would love for us to play like Swansea and Bournemouth played, but we’re still punching above where we should be. That can’t always be the answer though can it?
I don’t really know how to answer your question!
Q: We’re staring down the barrel of a 17th season in the Championship. Does it requires some sort of change for the club to move on at some point?
A; That’s a difficult question. How many teams have gone down and never got back to the Premier League?
Q: Some would say that relegation would be a good thing…
A: How can that be? I don’t see how anyone would want to get relegated and see that as a positive. That baffles me that someone would say that.
No-one is going to be happy all the time. It’s like when I put music on in the dressing room – I can’t please everyone!
You a lot of ‘be careful what you wish for’… Sheffield Wednesday made the play-offs three years in a row, changed the manager and have dropped like a stone. If they hadn’t got the points they have got on the board now then they would be in big trouble because they weren’t very good when we played there.
Change might happen, we just don’t know. All we can do is deal with the right now. The manager is working his socks off to be as successful as possible and as players we are trying to back that up and perform the way that we feel we can.
I’m sure the chairman is putting his own money into it. It’s his football club.
All we can do is try to be the best footballers we can be and produce for the fans and ourselves.
Q: Clearly a positive at the moment is the way you’ve been defending. That’s coincided with the switch to a back three at Norwich. Hop are you finding playing in that?
A: I love it. I’ve enjoyed my football, since the Norwich game, more than I have done in a long time. I feel like I’ve got two lads next to me that are up there with the best defenders in the league.
They can go and attack the ball because they know they have a slight insurance of me behind them. I feel I can use my experience to help them and cover for them if needs be. We’ve performed well and we haven’t conceded goals.
Q: How impressive is Cameron Carter-Vickers?
A: Very. It baffles me how we could get him halfway through a Championship season. He’s a fanatic capture for us. I think he’s been different class.
He’s a great lad to have around the place. He’s still only young. I’ve been in his ear to see if we can get him back next year and try to get it done now!
And if we can keep Adam Webster fit we all know what quality he can bring. It’s nice to see him playing week-in, week-out at the moment after his injuries.
Q: You don’t want to be left with nothing to play for in the last five or six games do you?
A: The manager needs to be given credit for the lads he has brought in because they are fantastic people as well as good players.
You don’t see too many of the lads here not wanting to go out if they’ve got knocks. They will put themselves through it for the manager and for the club.
The boys will always fight. We’ve got 10 games left and we will fight in every single one of them.
We had a crap finish to last season which affected our league position and I will be doing everything I can personally to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We need to be finishing in the top half.
Q: Even as captain you have no idea what the manager’s plans are for next season?
A: We’ve had chats about the whole situation. Obviously we had chats about my (contract) situation last year. Cole Skuse has been in a similar position. We’ve got Bart as well…
That is football and that is the way the chairman wants to run the football club. It’s obviously not ideal when you’re trying to identify players for next season and not knowing whether the manger is going to be here or not.
As I said, that’s out of our hands. All we can do is give absolutely everything for the cause and the manager. That’s what we’ll do between now and the end of the season.
Q: You must be delighted for Bart with his Poland call-up?
A: He still hasn’t signed that contract though! We’ll have to wait and see what happens there….
Q: Is that a concern? That should be sorted shouldn’t it?
A: You would imagine so.
Q: What’s he saying about it?
A: Bart doesn’t say much. I’m just delighted that he’s got that recognition that he thoroughly deserves. All the boys are giving him a bit of a ribbing about it.
He’s a God down here, he’s an absolute hero to everyone and he’s earnt that mantle. We’re delighted for him.
Q: You want to see him sign that contract soon?
A: Of course. I’m here next season. Why would you not get that done?
Q: You made no secret of the fact that the uncertainty surrounding your contract last season wasn’t ideal. Do you therefore have sympathy for the manager now being in that situation?
A: Yeah. Obviously I feel he’s done a good job here on the budget he’s been given – probably in the bottom four or five in the league.
Obviously last season wasn’t great. You hear a lot about the football being played isn’t great. At the end of the day football is a result business and he’s produced a consistent results.
Everyone wants us to play like Barcelona and get promoted and sometimes that’s a little bit unrealistic.
Q: I’ve seen you play some nice football as a team. The Cardiff game recently, for example, you zipped it about as a team and played some good stuff on the floor. The manager obviously asked you to play that way on that occasion given the size of their back four. How often doe she give you those instructions?
A: I think the lads have got to take a bit more responsibility and put their foot on the ball, offers a few more angles for each other a bit more. We work very, very hard without the ball, that’s one of our strengths, but I feel we can work for each other a lot more as a team with the ball.
You can be given all the instructions in the world, but you have to make the decision on the pitch whether to control it, pass it short of play it long.
If you have specific instructions… We play to our strengths at times, yes. If you have the ball in the bottom right-hand corner and you hit a diagonal passed to your team-mate and you’re then in a position in the attacking third in one pass as supposed to 50 passes around the back then you are still getting the same end result. Yes, it might not be as pleasing on the eye, but we play to our strengths.
Like I say, people do have to relax a little bit more and not get sucked into the environment we are playing in at the moment.
The pitch is an issue, don’t get me wrong. I can’t understand how we’re talking about a football pitch in the Championship being like that. There’s no reason the way it is the way it is and that is a frustration for me. Sheffield United are supposed to be one of the passing teams in the league and they weren’t able to do that here.
It’s a difficult thing playing at home at the moment with everything else going on.
Q: When you say ‘everything else going on’ what do you mean?
A: Just the general atmosphere here. Obviously people are frustrated with what’s happening top to bottom at the club. You can feel that as a player when you’re getting booed off at half-time if it’s 0-0. It’s difficult to play in.
But at the end of the day people are paying a lot of money to be entertained and we have to take the responsibility to be a bit braver, to want the ball and make the right decisions when the ball is up in the air, see if you can bring it down and make a couple of passes the break the lines and get in behind the opposition.
You mentioned the Cardiff game. That was a good performance and all the boys seemed to be playing with a bit more freedom.
If I could put my finger on why that doesn’t happen game-in, game-out then I would probably be working as a manager somewhere.
That might be something in the future, but for now I’m focused on getting the best results for the club.
Q: Mick became a player-manager at a similar age to you…
A: Don’t talk to me about that!
Q: You have talked about being a manager…
A: Yeah, in the future. I would never be a player-manage though. I don’t think you can combine the two. I wouldn’t want to. I’ve got lots of playing time left yet hopefully.
We want the manager here next season – simple as that. That’s from the players’ point of view.