'We need a few in, not just one or two' - Lambert reflects on defeat at Middlesbrough
PUBLISHED: 18:15 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:42 29 December 2018
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert remains convinced his team can beat the drop if he is able to sign 'a few' players in the January transfer window.
The Blues lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough this afternoon and remain seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table.
They now start 2019 with crunch home games against fellow-strugglers Millwall and Rotherham either side of an FA Cup third round tie at League One side Accrington Stanley.
“I think the performance level was unbelievably high from us,” said Lambert, reflecting on today’s defeat at the Riverside Stadium.
“I think we came here and played a really good game. We had great chances in the first half and the goalkeeper has made some good saves.
“But football-wise I am absolutely delighted with the way we are playing at this minute.
“We need a little bit of cutting edge up top, but I can’t ask anymore in terms of how we are playing.”
Boro took the lead in the 37th minute through a Jordan Hugill penalty, awarded by referee Jeremy Simpson after Jordan Spence’s aerial tangle with Hugill.
“I think Hugill is nowhere near it to get it,” said Lambert. “The two of them went in and I don’t think he is anywhere near to getting it. I understand why the referee gave it, I just don’t think he was ever going to get there.”
He continued: “I thought the way we played was excellent. We kept the ball from them for long periods.
“Listen, they’ve got one player on the bench (Britt Assombalonga) who probably cost more than our whole team. That’s the difference in size of squads. That’s the reality of it.
“The performance level football-wise, absolutely brilliant, to play the way I am asking them to play. We’ve got to be more clinical at the top end and that’s been the story of the whole season.”
“We need a little bit of help, as I’ve always said.”
Asked if he remained optimistic his team could beat the drop, Lambert said: “Yeah. The way we are playing, yeah. They need a little bit of help, the crowd are right behind us. Middlesbrough are one of the favourites to go up with the squad they’ve got but we came here and gave them a right good game.”
Quizzed whether new recruits were on the way, he added: “We’re trying. We need a few in. There’s names we’ve identified and tried to get. It’s not just one or two. We need a few in to give them a hand.”
The Blues have been linked to out-of-favour striker Rudy Gestede. On that, Lambert said: “I don’t know what the situation is.” Subsequently asked if he was a player he liked, Lambert quipped: “I like Messi but I can’t get him! I wouldn’t read too much into that.”
When it was put to Lambert that the next two games look particularly big, he replied: “Every game is big. The first day of the season should be big. What’s changed from the first day of the season to now? Nothing.
“Because of the way the table is and the way the results are, the next two games are important? What happened in August? What happened in September and October? If it was all going great I wouldn’t be sitting here.
“The way they are playing, the lads have been absolutely brilliant. The movement and work rate has been absolutely brilliant. One thing for sure is I’ve got their backs 100%. They’re my team. There are no worries there whatsoever.
“The crowd are with us. We need a little bit of help, a little bit of experience, lads who know the league. I think that’s important.”