'There must have been a fire in the stadium' - Lambert's pride as his Blues grind out first win
PUBLISHED: 18:06 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 19:37 15 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Lambert always felt his first win as Ipswich manager would be a scruffy one, with the Scot proud of his players after they saw out seven minutes of stoppage time to secure three points against Wigan.
Freddie Sears scored the only goal after 67 minutes of a wet and windy clash at Portman Road, in which conditions made it hard for either side to play, before the Blues saw the game out despite a number of nervy moments towards the end.
Lambert was perplexed as to where referee Scott Duncan found seven minutes of injury time from, but the Scot was proud of his players as they ground out a first win under his management.
“I just want to know where the fire was, there must have been a fire in the stadium,” Lambert joked.
“I can’t remember where seven minutes came from and some of the decisions in the game were strange. But the referee calls things the way he sees it, but I never saw seven minutes coming.
“I had a feeling our first win would be a scrappy one because we have been playing so well and dominating the ball, dominating games. Sometimes you get games where you have to put your shoulder in and see things through.
“I thought we did that and defending-wise we were excellent.
“The conditions were horrendous, Lambert said: “I think anybody would like to play in the rain but the wind doesn’t make anything good.
“In the first half I thought we were dominant on the ball and weren’t under threat, really, and in the second we had to defend strong given the conditions.
“Deano (Gerkan) has made a great save (from Reece James’ free-kick) but the actual game, overall it was probably one of the best since I’ve been here.
“We have deserved more and have played really well in a lot of games and walked away with nothing, drawing when we should have won.
“The level of performance the lads have given me, I can’t ask for any more.”
On match-winner Freddie Sears, who netted his fifth goal under Lambert to secure the points, the Blues boss said: “He’s doing ever so well at the minute, Freddie.
“He’s a great pro, a terrific lad and I think his all-round game is getting better. That’s five goals, it’s an incredible return from a wide player. I think he’s enjoying his football at the moment which is important.”
Lambert was pleased to be able to reward the Ipswich supporters, who he can not speak higher of following his arrival at the end of October.
“Nobody knows (what this will do for us) because we’ve got a helluva lot of games to play this season.
“This is one win and we now have to go and win the next one. But we’re playing well, that’s the thing.
“I’ve never experienced this kind of atmosphere when you’re bottom of the table, this isn’t normal.
“The supporters have been absolutely brilliant. Our job is to get a young generation into the stadium and get more going.
“But this isn’t a normal situation because, what they see, is everyone pulling the same way and starting to pull together.
“If we can get the fans in this place will be bouncing.
“We are a football club and we have to give something back to the fans. I’ve seen it in the short time I’ve been here how loyal and vocal they are.”
The victory, coupled with results elsewhere, means the Blues have cut the gap to safety to five points, heading into next Saturday’s visit of Sheffield United.
“There’s a long, long way to go,” Lambert said.
“If we can get a bit of help somewhere to give us a hand then great. Let’s see what happens.”
“Every game is big to me, I’ll say the exact same thing.
“The bottom line is, as soon as your season starts, it’s a big one. The season doesn’t start now, it starts in August, so every single game you play is big.
“If the lads had been performing properly at the start of the season then I wouldn’t be sitting here.
“That’s the reality of football.”