‘I’m really proud with how we played’ – Lambert on Town’s 1-0 home loss to Coventry
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert said he was ‘really proud’ of his players following this afternoon’s 1-0 home defeat to League One table-toppers Coventry City.
Matt Godden's cool finish in the 16th minute settled this close encounter. The Blues put in a much-improved display off the back of Tuesday night's dismal 1-0 home loss to Fleetwood but - in a familiar tale - were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge in the final third. That's now seven blanks in 12 matches.
A seventh defeat in nine matches sees Town slip to 10th in the League One table. The four teams immediately above them all have two games in hand, while Gillingham and Burton could both go above them should they win their games in hand.
"The lads gave me everything. They gave me absolutely everything. They gave me everything in their body," said Lambert. "We played a good game. They scored with their one real chance. We had a lot of the game, a lot of the game. I can't ask for any more. Today I was proud of them, really proud of them. I'm proud of everybody in the stadium.
"The fans were great. I think they saw what we've got out there and they saw the commitment. And that's all you can ask for. We lose the game, but the performance was a lot better."
The Scot continued: "Considering the lads we had available... (Luke) Woolfenden is a kid, (Andre) Dozzell's a kid, the two kids coming off the bench (Tyreece Simpon and Armando Dobra) are babies who are just wet behind the ears. There are a lot of things to be proud of. The atmosphere in the stadium was night and day.
"Gwion (Edwards) and Cole (Skuse) were very good. Cole had a really nasty gash on his shin, but came back well. Gwion was excellent. Judgey (Alan Judge) was excellent second half. There were a lot of good things there. Congratulations to Coventry. Mark and his staff are good guys, they have a good team.
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"We had Flynn Downes out, arguably one of the best midfielders in the division. The three lads up front (James Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Will Keane) missing. Danny Rowe out, Kane Vincent-Young out, Emyr (Hws) only just back from a toe injury. There are lot of big players out and hopefully we get one or two back soon."
Town had penalty appeals waved away early on when Nolan went down under the challenge of Kyle McFadzean. Lambert said: "I thought that was close, an interesting one. Bish went through first half and I thought that was a free-kick on the edge of the box which we never got too."
Asked whether he thought Nolan was fouled in the build-up to Coventry's goal, he said: "I definitely think there could have been a case, especially with what happened before and after that. Do you know what, I thought the officiating... The linesmens' flags... They never put them up. It was incredible some of the decisions there. I just think that's the way it is in this division."
Nolan spurned Town's best chance of the game when putting a powderpuff lopping header into goalkeeper Marko Marosi's arms in the first half.
"I know exactly what he's done," said Lambert. "He sees the goalkeeper coming and the ball is obviously high in the air, so he has to wait for it. Then obviously the goalkeeper went back and just plucked it out the air. I can see what he done Nolo. He went to do the right thing, but was caught out when the goalkeeper moved back. It was a big chance."
When it was out to him that, despite the positives in the performance, his side continue to struggle to score goals, Lambert said: "Absolutely, but we've got three big players out. Freddie (Sears) and Bish (Teddy Bishop) have only been back for a few weeks after months out. Freddie was out for over a year. You're asking two guys to go out there who are running on empty. Then you're putting Tyreece and Dobra on. But that's where the club is at the minute.
"Honestly, I'm really proud with how the team played. We stayed in the game for a long, long time and we took charge of the game against a good side."
Asked if he was playing Sears and Bishop more than he would ideally have liked, Lambert said: "Aye. I think it's really unfair on the two of them because they've been out for a hell of a long time. You have to remember that you actually detrain when you don't train for three weeks. Freddie has been out over a year. Yeah he's training and getting bits here and there. Teddy's calves were cramping up and we had to take him off. Freddie was running on empty at the top end of the pitch. You have to look after them. You can just make them run until something happens to them. That's not the way I work.
"If we can get some of the guys back we'll be a lot stronger. I'm really proud of today's performance. We went toe-to-toe with a good Coventry side. You still have to fight and fight and fight until that last ball is kicked. Everybody has to fight for the club."
With Luke Garbutt limping off in the second half, Lambert explained: "I think he blocked a shot on the far side and it tweaked his groin. We need to see how he is. That's another one, but I thought Josh (Earl) did well when he came on."
On Keane's absence, the Blues boss said: "I think he hurt his groin on Tuesday early in the game. I think he tried to play on. If you have an injury and the player says he's not fit then we trust that. The next scenario was we had to look at Freddie because he's the only fit senior striker, or you start Tyrecee or you start Ben (Morris). And you have to remember that Ben Morris had a horrific injury as well. It's a big, big ask. Freddie was the option for us because we didn't have anyone else."
On his decision to drop goalkeeper Tomas Holy, Lambert said: "It's always hard when you leave someone ut. The disappointment is a lot for guys, but I made the decision because of what happened the other night. Today we wanted to play from the back, which I think we did do, we played some good stuff. Will Norris is a calming head. He's mid-20s, but he has a really good demeanour about him. I'm not saying Tomas doesn't, but for this game I just thought Will's calming influence was important. I don't think he's had a save to make actually."
With Town now seven points adrift of the play-off places, Lambert - whose team head to Bristol Rovers next weekend - said: "We have to go for everything. I know it's hard, but we have to go for absolutely everything. Anybody that knows me knows I'll give everything I've got. I'll do my best. Hopefully we go on a run. Hopefully we do get some guys back and we look a lot stronger team.
"As I said before, today I can't fault the guys' effort. Everything was there that I asked of them."