Lambert remains upbeat despite loss

DON'T give up on the play-offs - that is the message from Colchester United boss Paul Lambert.

Carl Marston

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By Carl Marston

DON'T give up on the play-offs - that is the message from Colchester United boss Paul Lambert.

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The U's may have slithered to their ninth home defeat of the season, undone by Crewe striker Calvin Zola's close-range strike on 63 minutes, to leave them six points adrift of the top six in 11th spot. But Lambert is staying positive.

“We're six points off, which is only two games. Our season is certainly not over,” insisted Lambert.

“This was a bad result, and a disappointing afternoon, but maybe it's a blessing in disguise that only three of our last nine games are at home, because we have been doing well on the road.

“We played well for 20 to 25 minutes, and we had the chances to score, but once again we were undone by another set piece with their goal (throw-in).

“Crewe played on the counter-attack and were very effective. They defended well, but it was up to us to break them down. We didn't manage this, and I could see exactly how the game was going to go.

“We didn't look like getting an equaliser after their goal. We could have gone on playing all week and still not scored!” added Lambert.

Injuries did not help the U's cause, both before and during the game.

Lambert explained: “Steven Gillespie injured his ankle in training on Friday, and so couldn't play, which was a blow because we want him to be a big player for us on the run-in.

“And Simon Hackney was forced to come off late in the first-half with a groin injury. Simon is a very direct player and already a fans' favourite, so it was a pity that he picked up a knock.

“But it's up to us to bounce back. We are Leicester City next Saturday, and it looks like they are going to win the league. That will be a good test for us.

“The lads are disappointed, but we are ready to come again,” added Lambert.

By contrast, Crewe are now six points clear of the bottom four, thanks to a superb run of just one defeat in eight games.

Delighted Crewe boss Gudjon Thordarson said: “We knew it would be tough playing a team in form like Colchester. I thought it was very important for us not to give anything away in the first half.

“It was a scrappy performance from us in the first half, but we had a chat about a few things at half-time, and we were the better team in the second half.

“We managed to keep our defensive shape against Colchester, who are a good side. Lady luck was with us in the first half, but after we scored our goal, I thought we were more likely to score a second rather than Colchester get an equaliser.

“I'm very proud of my players, but the job is not done yet,” added Thordarson. Crewe are now six points clear of the drop zone.

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