'To be two points off the top is incredible' - Lambert on 2-1 win against Burton
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert felt his team got their just rewards through Emyr Huws’ scrappy late winner against Burton Albion tonight.
The Blues flew out the traps and led through Keanan Bennett’s fourth minute finish, but were pegged back midway through the first half when Joe Powell finished off a counter-attack.
Town struggled to break down the rock-bottom visitors after that, but were able to claim all three points thanks to Huws' header in a crowded box with 10 minutes to go.
"To be two points off the top of the table with the guys we’ve got out at the moment is incredible,” said Lambert.
“I’ve never known injuries like this.
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“It was an important win. But, again, I go back to injuries. We’ve got a team out, 10 lads out injured, and we need them back as quick as we can. The guys are hanging in and that’s what we’ve got to do at the minute.
“We’re two points off the top and the way it is you’d think we’re two points off the bottom.
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“To be two points off the top with the guys we’ve got is incredible.”
Reflecting on the game, he said: “We started the game really well, we were on the front foot and they couldn’t get out apart from the odd counter-attack.
“Keanan got a really good goal and then he wrong-foots the goalkeeper with another shot which, if that’s on target then it goes in. Then it becomes a different game.
“I don’t think Mark McGuinness should have tried to hit the diagonal from that far back. It was too far a pass to try. But he’s only 19, so he’s learning. We got caught on the counter for that goal and after that they sat really deep and defended their 18-yard box.”
On the scrappy winner, he said: “I’ll take anything at the minute! I thought we deserved it from the amount of pressure we put on them. They are a hard team to break down because of the way they play.
“Second half I thought we forced the issue. We forced it, forced it and forced it and I thought we got the just reward.”
Town almost conceded a late equaliser when Lucas Akins lifted the ball over from close-range.
“You could see it developing that counter-attack,” admitted the Blues boss. “I just said to Dai Cornell ‘did you save that?’ and reckons he got a touch on it. If he does get a touch on it then it’s a great save.
“It was a silly moment for us. You’re 2-1 up and you see the game through.”
On Bennetts, who went off with a groin injury after a lively start, Lambert said: “He’s getting better and better him. He didn’t play a lot of games at Gladbach, that’s a hard gig for any young player going abroad, but he’s come in here and game after game and minute after minute he’s got better.
“It’s just a shame he got injured. I think it’s his groin. I don’t know how bad it is yet. If we can just keep hanging in until they all come back we’ll be a stronger squad.”
Kayden Jackson also limped off in the second half, but Lambert is hopeful that’s just a knock.
“It's mad," said Lambert. “I’ve never known this in football with this amount of people out injured. I don’t know why it keeps happening to us, but we’ve got far too many out injured.
“But the guys coming in have done great. We’re two points off the top and, as I said before, you’d think we were two points off the bottom.”
On Jackson playing wide right, Lambert said: “We just threw it on him yesterday. He said he can play that role, so we gave him a shot at it. Then I changed it to two up with him going through the middle alongside Oli (Hawkins) and Judgey wide. That seemed to work. He did well on the right hand side.”
He concluded: “All credit to them. Two points off the top is absolutely brilliant. Hopefully the injured players come back, whenever they come back, and the squad will be a lot stronger. We just have to keep hanging in there.
“They’ve done great, they really have, with all the injuries and the young ones playing.
“We’re the team in the division who have had 26% of young players playing. Everyone else is two per cent.
“We’ve had to go that road because we don’t have anything else. There’s a lot of good stuff going on with the young ones. They are giving everything and that’s all I can ask.”