Lambert on losing 4-1 at home to Peterborough, a poor record against promotion rivals and crowd's reaction to Norris error
PUBLISHED: 18:08 01 February 2020 | UPDATED: 21:23 01 February 2020
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admitted his side were 'beaten by the better team' in this afternoon's 4-1 home thrashing by Peterborough, but insists a poor record against League One's promotion rivals is nothing to be worried about.
For the second time in five days, the Blues were comfortably beaten by one of the division's leading lights, this result coming hot on the heels of a 1-0 loss at Rotherham.
James Wilson's foul led to Ivan Toney's penalty opener, before Will Norris' howler - the Town keeper robbed of the ball as he tried to take it past Sammie Szmodics on the goalline - led to the killer second.
Siriki Dembele and Szmodics added two more after the break to render James Norwood's late penalty conversion a mere consolation.
It means Ipswich are still to register a win against teams currently in the top eight (D6 L4). Down to fourth, the six teams immediately below them have at least one - two in most cases - games in hand to come.
"We lost to a better team, the better team beat us," conceded Lambert. "The goals were disappointing. That was the most disappointing thing.
"The first goal was really poor because I thought we should have won the ball in the middle of the pitch. Then it looked like a penalty from where I was standing. No complaints with that.
"The second goal you just can't legislate for that. It was a big moment in the game.
"When you make a mistake as a goalkeeper it tends to lead to a goal. He's obviously apologetic. He'll know. He'll be down, that's for sure.
"He's been great for us though and is a good enough character to bounce back. I'm not going to chastise Will Norris or any of the guys because what they've done this season has been brilliant. We're in a really good position. I'm really happy with the guys.
"Okay, we've lost a couple of games, but I'm not going to sit here and chastise anybody because they've been brilliant for me."
Lambert continued: "We changed it half-time and started the second half not too bad, but for the third goal Will (Keane) controls it great in the middle of the pitch and then the pass just gets cut out and they score a good goal. That puts you on the back foot.
"The fourth one was kind of similar to the third one. We kept going and got the penalty, whether that was a penalty I don't know."
Asked about the mood in the dressing room, the Blues boss said: "I've said to the lads that they are four points from the top and there are still 15 games to go. There is a hell of a lot of football to be played. We're going to have the expectancy levels at home.
"I said they shouldn't be too downbeat. Be downbeat by today's game, definitely, but you're four points off the top. There's nothing in it and a hell of a lot of games to be played.
"It happens. If you're going to negative, negative, negative then you're going to kill the guys. The guys are going to get killed. We're four points from the top. We have to stay with it. There are a hell of a lot of games to be played. As I said before, let's see where we are in May."
Town's poor record against the division's top eight sides (D6 L4) was put to Lambert.
He replied: "Do you know what, in those six draws there are some games we should have won. There are games we should definitely saw through.
"What's put us in this position is the whole season, not just games against the top six/eight teams.
"It's a difficult league and you ain't going to get it all your way. If it was that easy then a massive club like Sunderland would have done it last season. You have to take the bumps with it.
"Five points is nothing really. That can easily be brought back."
But surely, it was put to Lambert, being comprehensively outplayed (by his own admission) by two promotion rivals in the space of five days will rightly worry supporters?
"No, it shouldn't," replied the Blues boss, whose team head to Sunderland next weekend.
"The lads will bounce back. They'll bounce back as quick as they can. We're five points off it, it's not a major disaster.
"Fifteen games is a hell of a lot of football. We've got the Easter period, which will determine a lot of stuff. There's a really long, long way to go."
A crowd of 21,351 was in attendance at Portman Road today. Many had left before the final whistle, while a significant number who stayed booed at the final whistle. Prior to that, there were audible chants of popular back-up keeper Tomas Holy's name following Norris' mistake followed by ironic cheers when Norris claimed a cross soon after the restart.
Asked about the above, Lambert said: "They pay a hell of a lot of money to come and watch. It won't help the guys when things like that happen, but the guys understand it.
"They are young guys playing in front of a big crowd every week. It happens. We have to be big enough and brave enough to take it on the chin.
"All the fans want is to see us win. Everybody wants to see us win. It's not nice to hear, because it's our team and our player, but the fans pay a hell of a lot of money. And our fans have been brilliant - 22 thousand today is absolutely brilliant."
Asked if he had made a decision as to whether Norris will start at Sunderland next weekend, Lambert said: "I'll look at it back, analyse and speak with the guys like I normally do. I'll decide on my team for next week from there."