Lambert admits Ipswich 'could have done without' FA Cup replay, but has no regrets about making 10 changes for Lincoln draw
PUBLISHED: 18:05 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:05 09 November 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admits an FA Cup first round replay at Lincoln City a week on Wednesday is something 'we could have done without', but says he has no regrets about changing his entire outfield team for this afternoon's 1-1 draw with Lincoln City at Portman Road.
Goalkeeper Will Norris was the only player to keep his place in the team following in from Tuesday night's 1-0 win at Rochdale, with a team full of fringe players and those recovering from injuries producing a flat first half display.
Town stepped things up after the break though and, after Norris saved a Tyler Walker penalty, Andre Dozzell scored a deserved equaliser (79) to cancel out Walker's first half finish (37).
It means the Blues have now gone 15 games without a win in the world famous competition and, just like in 2017, will be going to Sincil Bank for a replay.
Asked if it was a fair result, Lambert replied: "Probably, yeah. The penalty save was a big moment. First half we never really got going. Second half was a lot better. We changed the system a bit, got stronger and stronger as the game went on and got a great goal.
"We could have done without the replay and I'm pretty sure Lincoln will feel the same, but it is what it is. You can't change it. That's the rules. We've got to go up there and get on with it."
Asked if he had any regrets about making so many changes to his team, he replied: "Not one bit, because I trust the guys. They are all as equally as important as the guys who have been playing. Football has totally changed. You don't just have one to 11 or an 18, everybody has a role to play. I'm happy with the guys who played and the way they got stronger. I don't have any regrets.
"There were a lot of positives. I thought Dozzell was good. It was a lovely goal and I thought second half he was the one who was dictating the speed of the play. He was excellent. He plays really brilliant football around the corners. He's a young lad who had a really bad injury, but he's a big talent.
"Toto (Nsiala) responded well after giving the penalty way - I don't know if that was a penalty, I'd need to see it again - Anthony (Georgiou) getting game time, Will Keane getting game time, Toto getting game time.... There were a lot of good things. The only downside is we have to have a replay."
He continued: "This was a difficult game. They (Lincoln) played a really strong side, only made once change from last weekend. So I was happy. Second half was good.
"At half-time there wasn't a shouting match or anything like that, it was just 'okay, what can we do better?' and 'where is it not working?' We changed the system and got more dominance. Second half we looked more like ourselves."
Lambert met several Town fans after taking the job little more than a year ago to find out why there was such a feeling of stagnation and apathy around the club. Asked if the lack of an FA Cup win was something that had been raised, he replied: "I think it was a cumulation of everything, that disconnection between the support and the club. Things like the FA Cup did get thrown in when people were moaning. Not getting through for 10 years is an incredible stat.
"We had to get the supporters wanting to come again and make things exciting. I think you're seeing more of the young ones coming now, we're getting 20 thousand for league games, 11 thousand for non season ticket games..."
Quizzed whether, given Town don't have a league game for a fortnight, he had considered playing a stronger team just to get the FA Cup millstone off the club's necks, Lambert said: "I trust the guys. We played a really strong Lincoln team that only made one change. We had a young kid, (Armando) Dobra, Anthony Georgiou started his first game, (Emyr) Huws hasn't played many for two years, Dozzell hasn't played many games, Janoi (Donacien) has been out the team for a few weeks, (James) Wilson a couple of weeks, Toto just coming back from injury, Myles (Kenlock) has been out the team for a few weeks... So when I look at that against the team we played..."
Then asked if that meant his team selection today was more a case of giving game time to players rather than 'resting' others, he said: "Yes, because we have too many games. By doing this I know that if one guy gets injured another guy will be up to speed. It's not about giving a gift, it's not that at all, it's about getting everybody up to speed. It's not a present if you play under me. You have to earn it and every one of those guys that played today earned the right to play."