Lambert says rotation policy will be ditched if team wins games

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert (right) and his assistant Stuart Taylor. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert (right) and his assistant Stuart Taylor. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says last season’s squad rotation policy will be ditched if his team wins games.

The Blues boss chopped and changed both personnel and systems in 2019/20, his side losing momentum after a flying start to end up in a disappointing 11th place.

Lambert always insisted such rotation was necessary given the potential to play 60 games and responded to tactics talk by saying that it was ‘players, not systems’ that won football matches.

Now, however, despite the fact that the same number of matches are going to be squeezed into a shorter time frame this season, he has changed his mind on the need to share around minutes and has spent much of pre-season focusing heavily on honing a specific football identity.

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“Get in the team and play well, that’s the answer,” he said. “Players will become robust. Just stay in the team.

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“If you are winning games then they won’t be tired. That’s the secret to it. There are lads who play 60-odd games throughout the country. They are more than capable of it, but they have got to play well to stay in.”

He added: “The lads all know that there is not a starting spot set in stone for anyone. If you’re in the shirt and play well then it’s yours to lose.

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“If you’re in the team, you do your utmost to stay in it and that makes my job a little bit easier to do.

“They know how we want to play. As I say, the message is ‘it’s your shirt to lose’.”

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Town first team coach Matt Gill recently said that ‘consistency of style and identity is going to be vital’. And it’s been clear from pre-season that the Blues are working on specific patterns of play in a 4-4-3 shape, most notably with a desire to play out from the back.

“Over the lockdown I reflected on what went right, what went wrong and where we can improve,” said Lambert.

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“As I sat looking back over the season I had things in my head and I just thought ‘we’re going to play this way’.

“I said to the lads ‘this is the way we’re going to play’ and I think they’ve enjoyed it. It’s just a matter of trying to play the good football and turning it into results.

“Let’s see how it goes.”

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