Pride, passion, creating unity and beating the odds - the full transcript of Lambert’s first Ipswich Town press conference
- Credit: Archant
Paul Lambert was officially unveiled as Ipswich Town manager this morning and discussed his pride at taking the jobb, creating unity and a desire for success.
PL: Can I just say something before we start. I was at Leicester City yesterday and I want to reiterate my thoughts are with everyone at Leicester. I live up there and it’s so sad what happened on Saturday. Just a passing thought for the good people who lost their lives.
Also to Glenn Hoddle who hopefully is making a speedy recovery. I’ve done a couple of things with Glenn on the television so hopefully he’s doing well.”
Q: Paul, congratulations on the appointment. How does it feel to be back in management?
PL: It’s great, I’ve had six months off and you start to get itchy feet, as they say. I can’t wait to get going really and I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t promise anything but I’m really looking forward to getting going.
This will be the first real day I’ve seen most of the lads.
Q: Considering your strong association with Ipswich’s rivals, Norwich, did you have any concerns about taking this job at all?
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PL: None whatsoever. I don’t want to go back to the Norwich time because that was seven years ago. I had three fantastic years there with myself, the players who did it and the supporters. Three fantastic years there.
I don’t want to harp back and I don’t want you to ask me questions on it because I’m only focussed on Ipswich now and trying to get this football club away from the table.
That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
I don’t want to be judged by past success and failure because I’ll be judged from now on in. Hopefully we will climb that table.
Q: You’re not expecting any animosity from the fans on Saturday, your first home match?
PL: From the Ipswich fans? No, not at all. I saw them on Saturday at Millwall and for a team sat bottom of the table they were excellent. Right behind them.
I’m sure if we win games it doesn’t matter who’s there, they will be right behind the football club.
Q: You’ve had a few days now to settle in somewhat. What have you identified as the key issues you need to sort out with this squad to try and get them back to winning ways.
PL: You can’t change the past and what’s happened in the first few games. But we will indentify things pretty quickly and try to sort them. That will come from the collective.
We need everybody. We need the team to enjoy playing football again, which I think is important, and we need the team to play with enthusiasm as well. I’ll give it 100 per cent. Everything I’ve got I’ll give with my experience and my heart. Everything I’ve got to try and help this football club.
Q: What has the hierarchy said to you about what they want you to achieve this season?
PL: The owner Marcus has been really good. There’s no great expectancy on me at this moment in time. None at all. We have to get winning football games.
If we get off the bottom of that table and get on a little run then you never know where it can take you.
There’s never any expectancy level on my shoulders. I know football inside out, I know the pressures and pitfalls and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
Q: There are lots of players in the current squad from lower leagues. How will you use the January transfer window to perhaps change that if you feel you need to?
PL: Once January comes I will deal with it but I’ve got more important things to deal with just now. Winning football games is more important at the minute.
I know the lads haven’t won many games but they should still have a squad capable of winning games and do better than what they have been doing.
That’s important. My job is to maybe try and do different things and play the way I think they should play. That’s what I intend to do but the most important thing is to win games.
Q: Will any funds be made available in January?
PL: I’m pretty sure myself, Marcus and everyone at Ipswich will have a talk come January. I’m pretty sure we’ll look at that and hopefully add to the squad come January.
Q: What’s morale like at the moment?
PL: I only came in on Sunday with the lads but the group that trained were excellent. Really, really good.
I spoke to the staff and everybody here and they’re all really upbeat. If you came through the door your wouldn’t think the club is in the position that it’s in but it’s the reality of it.
My job is to try and change the whole feeling of that. The whole mood swing of it. You don’t get jobs when things are going great so you know there’s something up. It’s my job to try and rectify it.
Q: How will the Ipswich side who play against Preston on Saturday be different to what the fans have seen previously?
PL: People can say ‘oh, we’ve got a new manager and we’ll get one or two wins and it will go back to normal’. That’s normal for people to think that way. My job is to try and keep it consistent and try to get the players and supporters to interact with each other.
That’s what we’ll try and do. We’ll try and get everybody. We need everybody. We need the staff, we need the players and we need the fans to be united.
As long as they see a team really fighting and playing in a different way then they will get right behind us.
Q: Are there any injury updates or concerns ahead of Saturday?
PL: There are one or two little knocks from the weekend but we’ll see how they are come the rest of the week. As a squad, we’re going to need everybody.
Q: You’ve had some tricky jobs over the last two years, so how do you go about the instant repair job at Ipswich?
PL: There’s no secret in the game of football, you just try and win games and that keeps everybody pretty happy.
I think what we have to do here is create an atmosphere where we have a lot of fun as well. We’re going to try everything we can to win games. If we do that we have a great chance.
It’s a better place to come and work when it’s more upbeat and we’ll try and generate that. If we can, then we have half a chance.
Q: Would you have come here had money not been available to spend in January? The consensus is amongst most fans that the squad needs some serious help.
PL: It needs some help but I don’t think money always guarantees everything. It can give you problems as well. We have to get the right players in here to help.
There’s no point in saying we have ‘x’ amount of money and then you spend it on lads who aren’t good characters and things like that.
We have to get good characters first and foremost to create a good place to be.
Q: You’ve said you want the right type of player. You achieved so much of your success at Norwich with young, hungry players and by developing players from the lower leagues. Do you think you can try and replicate that here?
PL: I don’t know. As I said earlier that was seven years ago and I don’t know. The league is stronger than what it was.
The Norwich lads were brilliant. They gave me everything and they should take the plaudits because it was them and the supporters who carried that through. I’ll try and generate that here. That’s what I have to do.
This is my club now and I’ll do everything I can to do it. I’ll give 100 per cent and throw everything I’ve got at it. People who know me down this neck of the woods know this is exactly what I will do.
Q: Do you still rank your achievements at Norwich above all else in terms of management?
PL: As I think I said earlier, it’s gone. It’s seven years ago. This is my club now and this is the one I really want to focus on and really want to drive.
I want to have a lot of success here and will give it absolutely everything. Let’s see what happens.
Q: I know you clearly don’t want to talk about Norwich…
PL: He’s winding me up (laughter)
Q: But people in these parts do remember you from those glorious days. You had wall-to-wall success for three straight years. You also masterminded some great wins over your nearest rivals Ipswich. So deep down, can you believe you are here?
PL: Nothing surprises me in football. I’m proud to be here and I can’t wait to get going. I’ve got a group of lads who want to do well and a club who wants to do well, which is really important, and a big support behind this club.
My main focus is Ipswich Town and I will do everything I can to do well here. I give everything I can and have at every club I’ve been at. This one will be no different.
Q: You left Norwich seven years ago on a crest of a wave…
Press officer: Can we get back to Ipswich?
Q: I know, but you have had a lot of shorter spells at clubs since then. Do you feel under pressure here at Ipswich to achieve success in the long-term?
PL: I don’t feel pressure. I never feel pressure really in any game I’ve been in. Even when I was a player I never really felt it. I played for some massive clubs so I know exactly how pressure goes and I know how management pressure goes.
The game is all about players and supporters, that’s what the game really is about because without the two of them, you don’t have a game.
Along with the staff and everybody, if we can get a spirit and a tempo going then we will be a good side.
Q: You have said there is no expectancy on your shoulders here but how realistic and how tough a job do you think survival will be?
PL: Every job’s tough whether you are at Manchester City, United, Liverpool and every manager has a challenge on their hands. It doesn’t matter where a team is in the table, every job you go into has a challenge.
Put it this way, I’m really looking forward to it, that’s for sure. I’m not frightened by it and I know this is a huge club with history behind it but we have to start somewhere.
You respect the history of the club because of the great people who have been here but we can’t be compared to years gone by. We have to try and do our own little bit and, like I’ve said before, we respect history, the UEFA Cup and the great managers. But we need a start and a chance, otherwise we have no chance. We have to have that chance to do it ourselves. If we do that then we will do fine this year.
Q: Confidence is obviously key so was there anything on the pitch on Saturday that leads you to believe confidence is an issue?
PL: It’s not just Saturday’s game. There have maybe been a few games where the lads just haven’t got going and suffered defeats. That’s normal when you’re not winning and that can happen.
But forget what’s happened in the past, we have to look to the future now. I’m pretty sure there will be a different team on Saturday – whether we will win, nobody knows, but I’m sure you will see a different team.
Q: You have talked about bringing a fun element into this but how do you quantify that?
PL: You have to do that and you have to make the lads enjoy their football. Whether they make mistakes or not is irrelevant and if they do make mistakes it’s my fault. Not their fault, because I’m telling them how to do it.
So come in, enjoy your football. Enjoy the game.
Q: Crowds have been pretty low in recent years, so getting that enthusiasm amongst the supporters is a key thing?
PL: Massive, absolutely huge. This is a massive football club and we have to get the fans onside. They are vital and we need them behind us.
I’m pretty sure we will get a good crowd on Saturday, that’s for sure.
Q: What was your reaction when you first got the call from the owner, Paul?
PL: It was the same kind of reaction I got from any of the other jobs I’ve gone into. He wanted to have a chat and that was no problem. If you look at the amount of managers out of work there are thousands out there wanting job.
I was fortunate Marcus asked me to have a chat and I got on really well with him.
Q: You’ve not been afraid to take some tough gigs in management, have you. A lot of the clubs you’ve gone to have been in not great conditions. What motivates you to take these kind of jobs?
PL: I love the game of football. I love it. All the clubs I have been at have been good clubs. I’ve never come away from any of them wishing I’d never taken the jobs. There have been good people I’ve met along the way as well which is important.
When you meet good people you stay in contact with them so the clubs I’ve been at have been very good.
Q: It takes something to take on these jobs. You’re not frightened to take on big challenges are you?
PL: I’ve done it throughout my whole career and that won’t change. That’s just the way I am.
I have certain standards I try and hit and if you fall below them then you are disappointed but I’ve not been too bad success-wise. I’ve had some failures but, as I’ve said before, I don’t want to be judged by past success of failure. I want to be judged by what’s here now.
Q: What did you say to the players on Sunday when you met them for the first time?
PL: I just gave them an outline of how I work and what I expect from them. I wasn’t just the players, either because I spoke to the staff, everybody.
Everybody’s been great and I’m really looking forward to it. Once I’ve finished with you guys (the press) then I am going.
Q: Some people were expecting you to come in and tell a few home truths with a few rockets, but it sounds like you are going to try and inject a bit of fun and tell people they are good players and inject some confidence.
PL: There’s a bit of both to it. Management now has evolved and the game’s evolved so you have to enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t there’s no point in doing it.
There will be times where you have to tell people they’re not good enough and there are others where you tell them to enjoy themselves.
Q: You’ve talked about the January transfer window but in the short term might you look to the free agent market?
PL: I don’t know but I will have to judge what’s here first. I know the lads haven’t won many games but I won’t judge them on what happened 15 games or so ago. I have to judge them on now and what’s there now.
If I think we’ll need help – and I’m pretty sure we’ll need a little bit of help in January – then I will.
But you have to be fair to everyone at this point in time.
Q: Saturday’s game and then next Saturday (at Reading) look like big games on paper. How big are they and how much do you need the fans?
PL: The next two games are huge. Listen, every game is huge in the league whether you are trying to get out the league or stay in it. I said earlier on that this is a big football club with a really big fanbase behind it.
If they can not judge us on what’s happened before and come and get right behind us then there will be a brilliant atmosphere. I’m pretty sure they will and I don’t have any fear or trepidation that they won’t come out and support the team.
We have to give them something as well but for 90 or 95 minutes we have to ensure they come and enjoy their time as well. They pay big money to come and watch the team and they want to watch them win, so when they’re in the stadium they can enjoy themselves.
But we have to give them something as well.
Q: You wouldn’t have taken on this job if you didn’t believe you could keep Ipswich Town up, would you?
PL: No, no. I’m ready for it. I can’t wait to get going.
Q: There were reports on Sunday of a £10million warchest for January. Was that news to you when you read that?
PL: If you’re telling me that then it must be true then!
I haven’t bothered with anything like that one bit. The most important thing is the here and now and I have nearly a full week to prepare for Saturday. That’s my main focal point.
I know in the back of my mind we maybe need a bit of help come January, but the most important thing is to win on Saturday.
Q: Will there be any changes to the scouting side of things?
PL: I haven’t met a load of people so I need to find out who does what and what goes on. The main focus is on this week and trying to get a win on Saturday.
Q: I’m sure you know the traditions of this club with young players. Are you a manager who uses young players and drafts young players in?
PL: If you look at what I’ve done previously then you will see if they’re good enough I’ll throw them in. If you are good enough and I think you can handle it then I will throw you in, that doesn’t matter to me.
I needed a manager myself to give me a chance when I was 15 at the time. He gave me a chance and if you are good enough then I have no problem with throwing you in.
Q: One of the hallmarks of you’re success elsewhere has been dramatic finishes and late goals. Can Ipswich fans expect that ‘seat of your pants’ type of football?
PL: I hope we don’t need to score late goals because that will mean we are chasing the game.
We have to go on the front foot and we have to play with a tempo and an intensity. I don’t like slow football and we’ll have our own style to try and play. If we can get late goals that’s great but we have to keep going for 90 minutes or however long the game lasts. As a team we have to play on the front foot, that’s for sure.
I’m not going to promise anything but hopefully the lads will play in the way I want them to.
Q: The squad’s been seen to be lacking a bit of Championship experience, so in your opinion how important is having players who know the league?
PL: There is a handful of lads here who have played a lot of games but maybe need a bit of help. That’s not to say the lads who haven’t played in the division can’t step up to the mark because I’ve done that before with a lot of lads who were told they couldn’t step up. All of a sudden the lads do it and then make a great career for themselves.
It all depends on the individual. If they are good enough and can do it week in, week out then I don’t have a problem where they’ve come from.
Q: Is it possible to play attacking football while battling relegation?
PL: We have to win games, no doubt, but I don’t play any other way.
We try to win games and try to compete with every team we play against. As long as we compete and as long as we do everything we can to win games then I can’t ask for anything more.
I won’t change my style of trying to play on the front foot.