‘That’s what you call big club syndrome’ – Lambert previews ‘massive’ Boxing Day clash with Gillingham

Paul Lambert pictured during Ipswich Town's 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth Photo: ROSS HALLS

Paul Lambert pictured during Ipswich Town's 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth Photo: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has called upon his players to cope with ‘big club syndrome’ ahead of this afternoon’s Boxing Day clash with Gillingham at Portman Road.

The Blues slipped out of the automatic promotion spots for the first time since August following last weekend's 1-0 loss at Portsmouth. Having won 10 of their opening 14 games in all competitions, Ipswich's record over the subsequent 15 games reads: W3 D6 L6.

Town have beaten Gillingham twice already this season - 1-0 at Priestfield and 4-0 at home in the EFL Trophy - but Steve Evans' mid-table men come into today's game in their best form of the campaign.

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Asked if recent results had heaped extra pressure on this festive fixture, Lambert replied: "This football club generates pressure because of the size of the name. That's what it should be, that's big club syndrome.

"That's not a problem. If you play for this club or you manage this club then you have to manage that expectancy level. You should actually thrive on that. Go and express yourself and do the things that got you here in the first place.

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"We have to handle the way teams play against us and the way they raise their games. That's what you call big club syndrome. That's what this club is - it's a big club in this division. You have to handle that."

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He continued: "This a massive game and there will be a massive crowd. We'll be the team who has to be on the front foot.

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"With regards the crowd and the team, it's a hand and a glove. You need the two of them to work in unison, you need them bouncing off each other.

"We've got to get back to the first 15 games when we were relentless. That's well-documented.

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"You are always going to have a blip, it's how you come through it. We bounced back from the two games we lost before (Accrington and Rotherham) and we have to bounce back again. That's what makes good teams because it's very rare a team goes right through (unbeaten)."

Lambert added: "Whoever we play, home or away, it generates an atmosphere and teams going above their level. It's up to us to go above that to win.

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"As I say, that's what you call big club syndrome. You have to rise above it.

"We have to be intense and feed off the pressure. I'm pretty sure the guys will come out flying."

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