‘The football was incredible... There’s not one failure’ – Lambert on EFL Cup win against Bristol Rovers
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert said his team played some ‘incredible football’ in this afternoon’s comfortable 3-0 win against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup first round.
Freddie Sears finished off excellent moves at the back post in either half, those goals sandwiching a fine glancing header at a corner from Luke Chambers.
Aaron Drinan, Alan Judge and Teddy Bishop all produced well-weighted assists, while Toto Nsiala, Andre Dozzell and Chambers all provided incisive moments in the build-up to the goals too.
Town also forced three good saves out of the visiting keeper and looked firmly in control from the moment they bagged a 29th minute opener.
“I thought the way we played was incredible, the football was incredible, we had incredible movement off the ball,” enthused Lambert. “The goals were excellent. Aaron Drinan had an incredible chance, so we could have had more. The football we played was excellent against a good side. I’m delighted with how we played.
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“There were so many good things today, so many guys who really came to the fore. As an all-round team performance it was very, very good. There’s not one failure there. Everyone was excellent.”
On Drinan’s display, the Irishman finally making his senior debut for the club 32 months after signing, Lambert said: “Excellent, really, really good and he’s deserved the chance. As I said before ‘show me what you’ve got in pre-season and if I like it you’ll get a chance’. I thought the lad was great.
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“His sheer enthusiasm, hunger, desire, work rate – that’s everything for me. Whether he’s got the ability remains to be seen, but if you can do all those things I mentioned then you’ve got half a chance. I’ll take that every day of the week. His link-up play was great today.”
With Chambers rolling back the years with an impressive display from right-back, a position he’s not filled for some time, Lambert said: “I knew the situation with Janoi (Donacien) and Kane (Vincent-Young, both being injured). I knew Luke would give us composure in the right-back area. I thought him and Stephen Ward were excellent. The whole back four were. Toto (Nsiasla) and Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden) with Tomas (Holy) behind them – that was a solid base.
“The midfield three, I thought their movement was excellent. They were going beyond, going short, the link-up play, the one-touch, two-touch football was excellent. I thought Jon Nolan was brilliant with his movement and one-touch passing. I think that three (Nolan, Dozzell and Bishop) really complemented each other well.
“I thought Freddie (Sears) and (Alan) Judgey caused no end of problems. Aaron Drinan, as I say, his work rate and his rawness will be a big asset.”
Asked about the injury which forced Chambers off in the second half, Lambert said: “I’m not sure how bad it is. Whether it’s just cramp in the hamstring I don’t know. Luke has not played that position for a long time and it’s a different type of running to playing centre-back. We’ll see how it is, but his performance was really good.”
Town now host Arsenal Under-21s in an EFL Trophy group game on Tuesday before taking on Wigan, also at Portman Road, in their televised League One opener next Sunday. The second round of the EFL Cup will follow on Tuesday, September 15.
Asked what sort of team he’ll pick on Tuesday, Lambert said: “The team is winning. As I said yesterday, ‘it’s yours to lose’. It doesn’t matter who’s sitting on the sidelines. Get in the side.
“We’ve got a game on Tuesday and we’ll go and try and get through that as well. We’ll see how one or two are with little niggles. It will be a strong team Tuesday again though. We’ll go and try and win.
“I know the team that will play. Players have got a chance of staying in the team.
“If I think anybody has got a slight little strain then I’ll change it, but if not then we go as strong as we possibly can. It all depends on the little niggles.
“A lot of you guys made an issue of the rotation thing so maybe I’ll let you pick the team for Tuesday!”
With Town looking well-drilled in their patterns of play using a 4-3-3 system, Lambert said: “We done it when we first came in. We played some good football when we first came in and had we got the goalscorer we tried to get then would we have got relegated? I don’t know. But we played some really good football in the Championship. It’s just a case of tweaking one or two things from that. They know it. It’s just about repetition with it now.”
Asked if he was pleased with his side’s response to last weekend’s flat 1-0 friendly loss at League Two side Cambridge United, Luke Woolfenden, Nolan and Judge the only players to keep their places from that game, Lambert said: “Do you know what? I never made anything of it. It was a nothing game, guys were coming back from injury and you get nothing for a training game. I didn’t get caught up in all the euphoria around that.”
On playing competitive football behind-closed-doors, he added: “It’s not great without supporters and hopefully we can get them back as quickly and as safely as we can. This ain’t football though, for sure.”