'It's not about systems... You need to get that out your brain' - Lambert on formation and personnel rotation
PUBLISHED: 12:53 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 10 January 2020
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his rotation policy could begin to slow down in the second half of the season, but appears ready to keep changing formations.
The Blues boss has made constant changes to his starting line-up so far, spreading out game time among his large squad. He's also regularly switched systems too, both from game-to-game and within matches, during the current 12-game winless run.
"We're a squad that would never have handled everybody playing all the games for the reasons I've told you; lads being young and older guys being at the end of their careers," said Lambert.
"How can you ask a 33/34-year-old guy to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday? They're dead before Christmas. It's dangerous for them. We had to do the right thing and it's put us in a really good position.
"We're still in a really good position (fifth) and we're only halfway through the season. There is still a hell of a lot of football to be played and we don't have too many injuries. We don't have any muscle injuries at all.
"You look at the Premier League... Newcastle lose five guys through injury, Tottenham lose their best striker (Harry Kane). When you play a lot of football it's dangerous. I knew the amount of games we'd have. It (rotation) was right."
With Town now out of the FA Cup and EFL Trophy, Lambert was asked if the rotation policy would carry on.
"No," he replied. "Now we're focussed on the league. If you've got the shirt, my advice to you would be to keep it."
Quizzed as to whether settling on a formation would help his players, Lambert said: "It's funny you saying that because I was reading Kevin De Bruyne's interview the other day and he said Manchester City practiced (a system) for 15 minutes before they played Manchester United and won 3-1.
"It's not systems. You have to get it out of your brain. It's about players. The player has to be smart enough to deal with it.
"Good players will fit into any system. It doesn't matter. The more intelligent players you have, the game becomes easier. It doesn't matter what level you're at.
"I never played in a midfield four before I went to Borussia Dortmund, I never played in a back three, but as soon as I was thrown into a system I could work it and knew how to play it. It's about the intelligence of the players.
"It's not about systems. That's the biggest cop out ever that is. I don't care what level it is, good players fit into any system."