Lambert on need to be ‘more nasty’, another injury and why he didn’t change to two up front
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his players need to be ‘more nasty’ following tonight’s 3-0 home defeat to Hull City.
Mallik Wilks put the visitors in front with less than two minutes on the clock and, even though it was a reasonable response from the Blues, a killer second was conceded in first half stoppage-time as Josh Magennis fired home inside the box.
Table-topping Hull went on to win the match at a canter, spurning two golden chances after the restart before finally adding a third through substitute Tom Eaves.
“You can’t lose another goal early doors like that,” bemoaned Lambert, whose side have slipped to fifth in the League One table ahead of Saturday’s visit of sixth-place Charlton.
“But after that we were so dominant of the ball, had some good moments, balls across the face of goal and they defended really strongly. The big thing for us is that we need to be more ruthless in both boxes. We’re a bit too nice.
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“We can’t be too nice. That’s probably our problem. Some of them are young. It’s okay saying ‘I made a bad pass’. It’s your job. It’s not a hobby. A hobby is when you are 12 and 13. You’ve got to come out of that mode as a young player.”
When it was put to Lambert that all three goals looked soft and preventable, he said: “The first one, obviously, it’s too easy for him to cut inside. After that we played some good football, we looked really good, and I thought we were knocking on the door more than they were.
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“The second goal, the ball just comes into the box and that was poor. The third goal is a bad pass by Jack (Lankester). So yes, they were poor goals.
“I said to the guys at half-time that we are in control of the game. Just keep doing what you’re doing and take the risks. Second half we had a lot of the ball, were probing and trying to get through them, but you can’t legislate for a bad pass that puts you on the back foot and leads to a goal. It’s a big individual error.”
Town’s poor record against so-called ‘promotion rivals’ continues. They claimed 12 points from a possible 42 against the 10 teams that finished above them last season and already this season have lost to Lincoln (3rd), Hull (1st) and Sunderland (8th). Current form now reads three wins from nine across all competitions.
Asked if there was a gap in quality between his side and Hull, Lambert said: “Not football-wise, no. And we’ve got a hell of a lot of injuries at the moment. But that’s football. Football-wise I’m pleased with how we’re dominating with the ball. We just need to be more nasty.”
Asked if fans had a right to be concerned about recent form, Lambert said: “We lost a game. We’re still a really good side, we’ll still be up there. We just need to learn from this. As I said before, we have to be more nasty. I’m pretty sure some of the guys in there need to realise that football is not just an easy game. You have to be nasty. That’s everybody. The younger guys have to realise what we play for. It’s okay saying it’s about development. You have to win games.”
Lambert was then asked what he would say to supporters fearing another collapse like last season.
“What can I say?” he said. “We try our best. We’re trying everything to win games. We’ve been beaten today. There’s a long, long way to go. They have to try and keep going.”
Freddie Sears joined a growing injury list when limping off with a hamstring injury in the first half.
“We are without a whole midfield, now Freddie as well,” rued Lambert. “That’s football. I’ll not make excuses. It happens. We’re without some really good players, but what can we do? We have so many games. We had eight games in 28 days, which is incredible.
“I don’t think we’ll see anybody coming back from injuries at the weekend. Gwion (Edwards, hamstring) won’t be ready. Bish (Teddy Bishop, ankle) is out for a while. Nolo (Jon Nolan, groin) I don’t know how long he’s out for yet.”
One positive from tonight’s game was the lively performance of James Norwood up front. In what was only his second start of the season (and seventh of the calender year), he gave the Hull defence plenty to worry about before being substituted in the 74th minute.
“He was very good,” said Lambert. “He only came off because he’s not done much and I didn’t want him to have the same problem as Freddie. That was the only reason. I’ve just said to him in there that that’s the best he’s played under me, without a doubt. I’m really happy with how he played. He’s played so little James, trained so little, so we couldn’t take that risk. But that 75 minutes will have done him the world of good.”
Despite having three strikers on the bench, and his team trailing, Lambert stuck with a 4-3-3 system throughout. Had he considered going with two up front at any stage?
“No, because we’re hopeless with two up two,” he said. “In my opinion we are not as strong like that. We don’t dominate the ball. Even though last year we did well, I don’t think we were playing well enough to merit where we were. So, no. We did put Kayden (Jackson) on (wide) and put Oli (Hawkins) up there, but the whole philosophy remains.”
On Saturday’s top-six clash with Charlton at Portman Road, Lambert said: “We’re up there, Charlton are up there. Hull are a good team and Charlton are a good team. We’ll keep trying to play with the ball, but we have to be nasty.”