‘You never, ever give up’ – Lambert on defeat at Forest and relegation fight ahead
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Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert says he has no doubt that his team will stay in the fight following this afternoon’s 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Lewis Grabban netted twice in the first half, while the high-flying hosts hit the woodwork three times and twice forced last-ditch blocks.
The Blues are now seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table, while the gap could widen further tomorrow if Millwall win at Bristol City.
“I think we’re in a seven team league at the minute,” said Lambert, who has taken two points from his first five games in charge.
“We need a little bit of help in January, I think everybody recognises that. Let’s see what happens from there on in.
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“You never, ever give up on anything. There is still a hell of a long way to go. We’ll be in the fight, I have absolutely no doubt about that because we’ll get better. We are getting better. We just need a bit of help in certain areas of the team.”
Asked if he felt owner Marcus Evans would only provide transfer funds if the gap was deemed not too big, Lambert paused before replying: “Marcus knows. He is a clever guy and he’s been brilliant since I’ve come to the club. I don’t have any problem with that.”
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Reflecting on the game, he said: “Do you know what, we started really well. The first goal came after a mistake from a lad you wouldn’t expect to make a mistake. I thought it was bread and butter shot from distance with no great power. It just came away from him (Bartosz Bialkowski) and that put us on the back foot. It gave Nottingham Forest and their crowd impetus.
“You can’t just blame the defence and the goalkeeper. It’s a collective thing when you give away sloppy goals. That doesn’t help when you’re up against a side of Nottingham Forest’s calibre who have invested well. But it’s up to us to get ourselves out of this position.
“Second half we made a fist of it when we could have capitulated. All credit to the team. We’ve got a lot of young lads and also a lot of lads who have been brought to the football club who are playing in this division for the first time.
“The crowd were brilliant again. They are the ones you feel sorry for because they come in their numbers. We need everybody at the football club to stay together.”
On Bialkowski making another mistake just days after an evening to forget against Bristol City, Lambert said: “Listen, I think he’s a brilliant goalkeeper and a terrific lad. Mistakes do happen. That’s the nature of football. It won’t be his first mistake and it won’t be his last. He’s a really top goalkeeper and it would be wrong for me to say anything because he’s been excellent since I’ve been here. Mistakes happen.”
He added: “I’m fortunate this football club has two very good goalkeepers.”
Lambert had named the same team for his first four games in charge, but there were four changes at the City Ground as 18-year-old Jack Lankester was handed his full debut and Teddy Bishop made his first start since Boxing Day 2017.
On Lankester, Lambert said: “I think he did well. You never know until they jump in the water whether they’ll sink or swim. I think he’ll swim. That’s great for the club. I think he’s going to have a big, big impact in his career. That will stand him in good stead. It will just show him what it’s like to be a professional footballer.”
On Bishop, he said: “I think he got his second wind. He’s another kid who has been out a long time injured and is getting the feel of it again. There are lot of positives. As I say, we never capitulated in the second half and the support at the end was very welcome.”
Kayden Jackson was another player to come into the team. The striker signed for £1.6m from Accrington Stanley in the summer missed a couple of good first half chances.
“He did great to get across to the header and I thought maybe he should have hit the target,” said Lambert. “Kayden hasn’t played much football. I gave Jordan (Roberts) a rest, I gave the two kids (Flynn Downes and Trevoh Chalobah) a rest because they haven’t had a break at all. Gwion (Edwards) had a little bit of a sore ankle so we had to watch him.”
Asked if confidence was an issue for his side, the Blues boss said: “Do you know what, it’s not. That’s the beauty of it. The lads have been great. There’s a really good spirit at the club. Everybody who knows me, knows I’ll never let that go.
“Winning is contagious, it’s like a bug. If you get the winning feeling it can develop. We’re developing, we’re a young side. I’d love to know how many teams in the Championship have got as many young players as we’ve got, pus a hell of a load of lads who have come from the other leagues.
“But they’re my team and we’ll stick by them.
“It’s Stoke (away) next, a club I know really well; a great club, with great owners. But we’ll go there and try and win. I won’t change.”