'If that’s not a team fighting for me then you’ll never see one' - Lambert on Oxford draw
- Credit: Photo: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Paul Lambert was proud of the fight his players showed in their 0-0 draw with Oxford.
The Blues were the better side at Portman Road but weren’t able to take their chances against a side which entered the game as the form team in League One.
Town were solid at the back and committed in the tackle all over the field, without having the cutting edge to find a way through as both James Norwood and Troy Parrott missed chances early in the second half.
The result leaves Lambert's side 12th in League One, with the Scot under increasing pressure.
“I thought we were encouraging and a team fighting,” Lambert said.
“We’re still in the mix with a lot of games to go and if we keep that level we’ll be there. There’s a lot of encouragement there for everyone to see.
“In the first half Keanan Bennetts cut in and had a good chance and then Troy has dragged it. His touch was really good in the box.
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“In the second half we started really well and then Nors and Troy had chances. There were a lot of good moments but we needed to take the chances.”
On Josh Harrop’s late block, which could potentially have saved the point for Town, Lambert said: “When you don’t take your chances you can be in that situation.
“But if that’s not a team fighting for me then you’ll never see one. They gave me everything and that’s all you can ask for.
“All it takes is one result to kick on and hopefully that’s the case. I don’t think anyone could have begrudged us winning it.”
When it was put to Lambert that his side were looking to hit Norwood early, Lambert replied, with a smile: “You guys want the long ball back, don’t you? Just hoof it and boot it.
“No, seriously, we played to him and I was encouraged with how we performed.
“It’s been frustrating because he’s had injuries but if we can keep him fit and he plays like that consistently then he’s a handful. It’s keeping him fit.
“There have been times when he’s not performed but when he plays like that he’s a handful. Troy (Parrott) playing behind him was a handful.
“Hopefully he recovers and starts to play game after game.”
On his decision to make seven changes, Lambert said: “James (Wilson) and Toto (Nsiala) hadn’t trained and we missed them because of the games called off in the U23s. We were wary to throw them in but I spoke to them, asked them how they felt and they were both really strong.
“James had a knee injury in training and we found out he had a problem and I was pleased with all the guys. The back four were really strong.
“They will be champing at the bit to stay in the team.”
On Keanan Bennetts, making his first appearance since December 15, Lambert said: “He was great.
“He has that thing nobody wants to play against – speed. If you have that in your locker then you’re doing ok.
“He can make things happen and is an explosive player.
“It’s hard to single anyone out because I think they all played well.”