‘Players, not systems, win you games’ – Lambert says don’t read too much into wing-back experiment

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says it’s players, not systems, that win games.

The Blues boss has shifted the shape of his team several times since taking charge last October. It was primarily 4-3-3 on the way to relegation, but a successful start to life in League One has been based around 4-4-2.

A wing-back formation was used in the EFL Trophy win against Tottenham U21s 10 days ago though, and again when Town's U23s faced Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Monday.

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It's a system that would enable the Blues boss to continue with two up top, as well as squeezing another centre-back and central midfielder into the team now Toto Nsiala, Jon Nolan and Emyr Huws are returning to fitness.

Then there's the fact that Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Garbutt, Gwion Edwards and Anthony Georgiou are all capable of playing as wing-backs.

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Asked if it was a system that he was considering, Lambert laughed and said: "No. Look, we have our own way of playing and a philosophy of playing.

"Systems will never win you games. It's players that win you games. If people hide behind a system then I don't buy into that.

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"We analyse teams and how they play but it's about us.

"We have a way of playing and the lads know it. They know what I expect and they have to live up to that.

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"It's really easy to pick a team. As long as the guys give me everything they've got and play how they're playing then there's never a problem."

Doncaster arrive at Portman Road tomorrow also still unbeaten at the start of the League One season following four fightbacks from losing positions. The South Yorkshire side saw some key men depart following last season's play-off finish, but new boss Darren Moore appears to have recruited well.

"I have a lot of time for Darren (Moore) - I think he was harshly treated at West Brom," said Lambert.

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"It was a shock (when he was sacked, just hours after Town's 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns back in February) because they were in the play-offs. It just goes to show you football management is a crazy game.

"He's done well and made a good start at Doncaster so it's a tough game, although it's a tough game for them too.

"Winning is the most important thing and if we keep playing at this level with the support we've got behind us then we've got a chance."


Holy, Norris; Vincent-Young, Donacien, Chambers, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock; Skuse, Downes, Nolan, Huws, Dozzell; Edwards, Judge, Rowe, Garbutt, Georgiou, Dobra, El Mizouni; Norwood, Jackson, Keane, Roberts.


Nydam, Bishop, Lankester, Sears.

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