Lambert thought Ipswich were ‘outstanding’ in MK Dons win for two different reasons
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert thought his team were outstanding in both halves of tonight’s 1-0 win at MK Dons for different reasons.
The Blues dominated the first half and led at the break through Jon Nolan's neat 12th minute finish. MK Dons pushed hard for a leveller after the restart, but Town defended well to hold on for all three points.
Lambert's men remain second in the League One table with a game in hand on leaders Coventry.
"First half was outstanding - the best we've played this season," said Lambert, who celebrated wildly with the 3,000 travelling fans at the end.
"There were a lot of pluses there with Emyr (Huws), (Luke) Garbutt and (Jon) Nolan coming back. The only risk with those three was fitness levels, but I thought they were excellent and it was a brilliant goal.
"Second half was a brilliant performance due to defending. We were resolute, really strong and not bad on the counter. But first half we should have been out of sight.
"As I've said before, the lads have got a target on their backs and are going to have that until the end of the season because of the size of the club.
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"Rightly or wrongly people are going to portray that how they want. Just because we're a big club it doesn't matter. If it was that easy then Sunderland would have gone up last year.
"We've got a young side, lads who have not played the league before and guys just starting their careers with us, but the level we are playing is extremely high."
Town started with a wing-back system last night, but quickly switched to a diamond-based 4-4-2.
"We planned to play with a back three, but I said to Cole (Skuse) that if he saw them playing with one up top then he should step into midield - and that's what happened," explained Lambert.
On goalscorer Nolan, who was making his first league start since March, the Blues boss said: "He's made his career out scoring goals like that. I thought he was outstanding. He's not played for a hell of a long time, so to play the way he did I was really, really pleased with him."
On defender James Wilson, who was immense in the closing stages, Lambert said: "I thought it was his best game. I thought him and Chambo (Luke Chambers) were excellent. I thought all the back lads were. I couldn't complain with that one bit."
The only downside to the evening was the sight of James Norwood limping off in the 35th minute.
"It's just his groin," said Lambert. "He had a problem last season with it at Tranmere. Knowing Nors, the way he is and the way he wants to keep playing, we'll see how he is.
"We need all the guys. We can't rely on 18 guys. I know it's hard when you have to wait your turn, but as I said before, if you sacrifice the me for the we then we've got a chance.
"It's a tough, tough division with the amount of games we have. It's every team's cup final against us, but that support we have is extraordinary."