Lambert excited about life in League One after Town end disastrous year with a win against Leeds
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert is excited about next season after his relegated team finished a disastrous campaign with a morale-boosting 3-2 home win against promotion-chasing Leeds United.
Goals from Flynn Downes (30) and Andre Dozzell (47) twice gave Town the lead, but twice they were pegged back as Mateusz Klich (45) and Stuart Dallas (76) scored for the third-placed visitors.
Luke Chambers was dismissed for a foul on Kemar Roofe in the 79th minute, but Roofe blazed the subsequent spot-kick over the bar before a defensive mix-up between keeper Kiko Casilla and Luke Ayling gifted Collin Quaner a last minute winner.
“It’s a brilliant win. It really is a fantastic win,” said Lambert, whose team converted all three of their shots on target.
“I think that’s what we deserved in all those draws we had. If we’d won at least another six I don’t think anyone would have begrudged us that because we had been playing that way.
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“It’s only the last three games or so that I thought the wind had been taken out of our sails once relegation had sunk in.
“That performance was like pre-Birmingham. The only difference being we took our chances.
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“Performance-wise, effort and commitment I can’t for any more.
“There’s been a bit of bad luck. If we’d have turned those six draws in a row into wins, which I thought we deserved to win against good sides, we’d have been out of it.”
He continued: “You need those breaks. Leeds United have been in great form, are a really good side and I wish them well in the play-offs. Not many teams have beaten them.
“Today we’ve played really well, got the breaks at the right moments, and played some really good, energetic football. I think we matched them for a lot of the game.
“They had a good spell in the second half, but I thought we were always dangerous.”
Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor again stood in front of the North Stand after the final whistle to soak up the positive atmosphere which has constantly been at odds to the league position.
“There’s no way this feels like a relegation club,” said the Scot. “It’s extraordinary the support we’ve had right he way through since we’ve arrived. I can’t thank them enough.
“The season tickets are doing great I’m led to believe. More season tickets sold for next season (more than 11,000) than we’ve had for this season. Hopefully we get more in. That speaks volumes for the support.
“I think people want to come to the stadium now and watch exciting football. They don’t want to come and boo and criticise.
“I think they were starting to lose fans here and I can see why. There was no connection.”
He added: “I love the club. I think it’s brilliant. I don’t like seeing the position it’s in. I think there’s a lot of things on and off the pitch that everybody wants to be better.
“The great thing is that the younger generation are coming to watch. There are people who have been here for years and years who are wanting to come back.
“I’m looking forward to a break, but I’m also looking forward to what’s going to happen next season. It could be really exciting.”
Lambert gave both Dozzell and Downes big hugs as they left the field to standing ovations.
On Dozzell, who scored his first goal since that debut header at the age of 16 back in April 2016, Lambert said: “He’s not long back from an ACL injury. He missed a lot of football.
“If there are two players you want coming in from that side on their left foot, for me, it’s him or (Jack) Lankester. They’ll either hit the target or score.
“When I saw him going inside I thought there was a good chance to score.
“It was a good move. Myles (Kenlock) starts it, (Cole) Skuse plays a brilliant first time ball around the corner to Flynn and we cut them open. Then it’s a world class finish.
“Andre is a huge, huge talent and that’s another game for him.”
On Downes, the Blues boss said: “I thought he was outstanding. He wasn’t well during the week, he had a sickness bug. (Teddy) Bishop was sick too and I had to change the team this morning. That threw us a little bit.
“I had it in my head for Flynn to start, but I knew I wouldn’t get 90 minutes out of him.
“I think it’s great, I think it’s exciting. They play with real quickness and energy. It’s great working with younger ones. They have a lot to learn, there will be ups and downs for them, but they have a lot of talent.
“Somewhere along the line that talent has to come to fruition.
“I’m looking forward to working with them. They are good players and as importantly they are good guys. It’s important they listen.”
Meanwhile, Lambert says he might appeal Chambers’ red card. As it stands, the skipper will be suspended for the opening game of next season.
“I’d like to get that clarified,” said the Blues boss. “I’d have to see what actually happens, whether it’s a tangle of legs or whether it was offside.
“If you get given a penalty against you then that should be the punishment. To send him off is a bit harsh. If there is that double jeopardy rule then it’s wrong.
“I don’t know what the referee’s take is on it. It might be something we look at.”