Lambert dedicates victory at Bolton to travelling fans and calls late doubt over game ‘a disgrace’
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert dedicated this afternoon’s 2-1 at Bolton Wanderers to the club’s supporters and labelled the game being in doubt less than 24 hours before kick-off ‘a disgrace’.
More than 1,400 Blues fans made the long trip to Lancashire to get behind their relegation-bound team, despite the fact that the game was farcically in danger of being postponed right up until 1.30am this morning due to a ‘critical IT failure’ at The University of Bolton Stadium.
They produced a party-like atmosphere in the away end, singing their hearts out and throwing around an array of inflatables, and were rewarded as two fine first half goals from Collin Quaner – an expert header and 25-yard strike – secured a comfortable win, with Josh Emmanuel’s unfortunate own goal coming deep into stoppage-time.
Reflecting on what was only Town’s fourth win of a turbulent campaign, Lambert said: “I thought we were brilliant. First half I thought we were excellent. The movement was brilliant and Bolton had to change their shape to cope with it.
“There was one, two-touch football and we controlled the game. The goals were fitting for that first half performance.
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“Yeah, I’m disappointed with the last minute, but the performance was very, very good.”
He continued: “The performance doesn’t surprise me because that’s how we’ve been playing for a number of weeks and months – we’ve just not got the reward. Today we got the reward.
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“I’m delighted for the team and I’m delighted for the supporters. The support is unbelievable. As I say to you every week; it’s not a normal situation.
“They are helping with the development of the younger ones because there’s no criticism and they’re right behind them. It’s a big part of it. Young players will play without fear if there’s a crowd behind them.
“To play in front of that must be brilliant for the young ones.”
He continued: “The supporters are brilliant. I love watching them. They are a huge part of what hopefully is going to happen moving forwards.
“We wanted that win for the supporters because they’ve been with us through thick and thin. They’ve been like that since we’ve come in, it’s not just a one off today.
“They’ve been brilliant. You’d never, ever think this football club is at the bottom of the table with the way they are and the way we’re playing.”
Twice this game was in danger of being postponed this week, once when a safety certificate was initially not awarded due to matchday staff threatening to strike over late pay and then due to that ‘critical IT failure’.
“I thought that was a disgrace,” said Lambert. “We set off at quarter past 12 (yesterday) and travelled six hours. Just as we get here we get the shout that it could be off.
“The Bolton fans must be going mad with it. And I bet some of our fans came up last night. They’ve made a journey all that way to be told it could be in doubt. It’s wrong.
“I got a text at half six this morning to say it was on. If the game was off I’d lined up for us to go to Manchester City and train on their academy pitches. That was really kind of Manchester City and I thank them.
“It just threw everything into chaos.
“It’s terrible. That shouldn’t happen at this level. I feel sorry for the people here – the supporters, the players, the staff – because they don’t know what’s going on.
“Something’s not quite right for that to happen at this level.”
Huddersfield loanee Quaner went 49 games in English football without a goal, but the German striker has now netted three in his last three.
“Collin produced two brilliant good finishes,” said Lambert. “That’s what’s stopped us turning performances into wins.
“You can have all the great play you want, all the good build-up play and domination, but you need that finishing touch.
“I was listening to (former Spain manager Vincent) Del Bosque the other day and he was talking about David Villa. He said we could have had all the great build-up play in the world but if we never had a striker to put the ball in the back of the net it wouldn’t have mattered.”
Asked if there was any chance of the Blues signing Quaner this summer, he quipped: “If I play the lottery maybe! No, listen, that’s going to be too expensive for us.”
Quaner was the only loan player in the starting line-up today, Lambert having made five changes to his team following last weekend’s 2-0 home loss to Hull City.
Asked if his selection was made with the future in mind, he replied: “Not really. We’re still in it (13 points adrift with 18 left to play for). As I keep saying, until somebody says it’s mathematically over then you pick teams you think can win a game. That’s what I did today.
“There’ll be changes on Wednesday (at Brentford) and again on Saturday (at home to Birmingham) because there are too many games.
“I thought Toto (Nsiala) did well against Hull last week and he’ll come back in on Wednesday.”
With five academy graduates featuring today, he added: “The club is in a good place with the young ones, no two ways about it.
“(Alan) Judge signing, (Luke) Chambers signing, Cole (Skuse) still being here will certainly help them.
“Josh Emmanuel and (Myles) Kenlock are two young full-backs who have come through the club, (Andre) Dozzell, (Teddy) Bishop, (Flynn) Downes… I say every week, the club is sitting in a really good place.”
With Town having announced Judge signing a two-year deal yesterday afternoon, Lambert said: “I think it’s a huge one for the football club. You saw him again today – he hit one pass in the first half, well I don’t think you’ll see a better pass all season. It was a brilliant switch.
“Judgey is going to be a major player for this club without a doubt.”
On Will Keane travelling but not making the bench, the Blues boss explained: “He trained the last couple of days. It was a bad one he got with the hamstring, but he’s not too far away. Whether he’s fit for Wednesday or not we’ll see. I’ll look at him in the next two days.”