‘What you want is some leadership’ - Lambert calls for decision on future of season
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert has called for better leadership from the football authorities in deciding the fate of the current season - and said that the Premier League should help ensure those in lower tiers are protected from coronavirus if and when the game returns.
Lambert, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live this morning, said he just wants a decision to be made. EFL clubs are meeting again today as they try to reach an agreement about the best way to finish the season - Town are among six clubs, including Portsmouth, Oxford, Fleetwood, Peterborough and Sunderland, who are pushing for the campaign to be completed, rather than abandoned.
He said: “I’m not sure that they know what the right solution is, I think they’re trying to find anyway which they can do it - whether that’s the top ten going to play against each other, but you’re going to have the same questions that need answering, how does the testing take place, there will be no fans in it as you’ve probably seen as well.
“I think everybody’s trying to come up with a solution of what’s right and what’s wrong - there’s no right and wrong answer to this, what you want is some leadership, I think that’t the big thing, you want some leadership and for somebody to say ‘you’ll play this day, the testing will be 100% correct, and you’ll get on with it.’
He added: “I think we’ve absolutely lacked leadership. I think we need the leadership, whether it’s the EFL or some other organisaton, to say the games are going to get played or they’re not going to get played. I think that’s what’s frustrating for everybody - I know it’s frustrating for myself and the coaching staff at Ipswich and the players and the supporters.
“Everybody is, I think, at a loose end with the whole situation.”
Asked why Ipswich were pushing for the season to continue, Lambert said: “I think the ones who have got a chance are always going to do that (push for the season to be completed). It’s the same in the Premier League, the ones who are down the bottom don’t want to be relegated, I guess don’t want the season to finish.
“The ones at the top want it to end because they’ve got a good chance of getting to the Champions League or winning the league, for example with Liverpool, so everybody’s going to have their own agenda with it.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that you can’t get given a training date if you don’t have a match date, that’s unrealistic.
“Somebody’s got to make the decision, that’s the frustrating thing I think for everybody. There has got to be a decision made where somebody says ‘right, this is what you’re doing - you’re playing this day, you’ve got to come back that day, but only on the assumption that the testing is 100% clear.
“That’s a big thig for me. You saw in the Bundesliga on Saturday that the Germans have gone to great lengths of trying to protect everybody. Has League One or Two got the resources? They’ve not, and that’s where the Premier League should step in - we’re all one organisation, all one governing body, and they should help, without a doubt, they should help the lower leagues.”
Lambert was also asked about Germany’s return to football at the weekend, and if that is the template for the English game to follow.
He said: “Germany’s a different rate from us with the infection. Germany’s are way down, ours are way sky high, so you can’t judge what the Germans have done to what the United Kingdom is going to do, that’s important first and foremost.
“The football side they went to great lengths to do it - the lengths they went to, to get football on were extreme and they had to be, to protect everybody.
“Whether we as a country are that advanced, looking at it, I don’t think we are, I think we’re miles behind it and it’s going to take a long time for us to get back to normal.”
Having said that some players in Germany looked much fitter than others, the Town boss also warned: “It’s another dangerous game that everybody’s got to look at - how fit are the players? They need about five or six weeks normally to get up to speed, not everybody can do it, everybody’s got different fitness levels.”
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