‘We take our medicine and rebuild’ – Lambert wants Town players to take inspiration from Sheffield United promotion party
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his players must take inspiration from Sheffield United’s promotion party.
The Blades effectively sealed a top-two spot with their comfortable 2-0 victory against the Blues this afternoon, Scott Hogan (24) and Jack O’Connell (71) scoring in either half.
It’s the culmination of a long journey for the South Yorkshire club. They spent six years in League One, but have now claimed two promotions in three years under hometown hero boss Chris Wilder.
Ipswich, whose relegation was rubberstamped with four games left, are now preparing for life in the third-tier themselves.
“Our players have to bottle that up and make sure they have this next year,” said Lambert, reflecting on the joyous home celebrations at the final whistle. “We have a lot of young lads and it will do them the world of good.
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“I’ve just said to them in there ‘remember this atmosphere because hopefully in 12 months time you’ll get something like that’.
“They (Sheffield United) were in League One for six years – that’s a long, long time – but they’ve built back to this point.
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“Right now we take our medicine and we rebuild. Ipswich could be an absolutely fantastic place next year.
“All the good things which have happened previously get me excited.
“We’ll come back and we’ll come out the traps, that’s for sure. We’ll be fit and ready.”
He continued: “The gulf was really, really big today. You can see the huge gap between us and them, absolutely. I don’t think anybody should be deluded and say we are near them. We’re not.
“We’ve not long come in and we’ve got to rebuild the club like it was rebuilt here. That’s something we’ve got to aspire to. This is the time of feeling you want.
“We’ve got guys that are coming through the ranks who haven’t been out on loan and haven’t played much football.
“Flynn (Downes) had a brief spell at Luton, but Bish (Teddy Bishop) missed so much football, Myles Kenlock has just played 17 games in a row for the first time in his career – which is incredible.
“There are a lot of good things here and we’ve got to start somewhere.”
On today’s game, he said: “I couldn’t ask for anymore effort. We hung in and hung in. We never capitulated. I always knew it was going to be difficult with the atmosphere and them going for the promotion.
“Congratulations to them. You can’t give them anything but praise. They’ve had a fantastic season and Chris (Wilder) has done a great job.
“We never disgraced ourselves.
“It’s been hard for us. Once it (relegation) was mathematically done reality kicks in, but these (Sheffield United) have beaten better team than us by four or five.
“The great thing today was that nobody was hiding from the ball. It’s easy to hide when things are not going for you, but the lads kept taking the ball.
“The whole club needs a break, the supporters included. But we’ve got one more game (at home to Leeds next Sunday) and we’ll try and finish as strong as we can.”
Meanwhile, Lambert reflected on yet more injuries up front. Collin Quaner missed the game with a muscle strain, while Will Keane limped off in the sixth minute and Kayden Jackson was an enforced second half withdrawal.
That left Town with midfielder Alan Judge leading the line.
“It was really unfortunate to lose Will,” said Lambert. “That’s his same hamstring as before but hopefully not as severe. Then Kayden felt a bit of tightness and we couldn’t take a risk with him.
“Collin (Quaner) will hopefully be okay for next weekend, Jon Noan too.”
Keane’s withdrawal led to a tactical switch, midfielder Cole Skuse dropping back to play at the heart of a back three. His display was a positive to take from a chastening afternoon.
“I just think Cole’s a really good footballer,” said Lambert. “He can adapt because he’s got a really good football brain. He’s comfortable with the ball. I know he can do that role. He’s played it before and we worked on it during the week.”