‘We need everybody to win us a league’ – Lambert says it’s too early for Ipswich Town title talk though
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert scoffs at the suggestion his team can start thinking about winning the League One title, but a couple of Freudian slips suggests that’s very much the in-house goal.
The Blues go into today's game at Gillingham second in the standings following an eight-game unbeaten start (W5 D3), with a game in hand to come on league leaders Coventry.
None of the players in the camp have shied away from publicly saying that promotion as champions is the goal for a club that is playing third-tier football for the first time in 62 years.
Lambert, by contrast, has always been keen to play down expectations surrounding his power-packed squad.
Admitting that he has some 'big players' available now in the form of fit-again quartet Luke Garbutt, Jon Nolan, Emyr Huws and Will Keane, the Blues boss said in today's press conference that he 'we need everybody to win us a league'.
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In a discussion about strikers winning matches and defences winning titles, he went on to say: "The team will win you a league. The whole football club wins you a league, not just the players on the pitch. It's everybody collectively who win the title."
Asked if that meant winning the title was something in his thoughts, the Blues boss laughed: "After eight games? We try and win every game we can and we know what the prize is at the end of it. At this moment we're playing really well and the start has been really good. That's all it is."
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He continued: "There is a lot of belief there, a lot of drive and a lot of energy. Whatever team I pick seems to perform. If we can keep that then let's see where we can go.
"We're still unbeaten and if we can keep it that way until the end of the season then we'll go up, that's the bottom line.
"We're playing well and if the lads can handle the pressure that comes with playing for this club then great. So far so good.
"Hopefully we can get better as the season goes on, but we're there to be shot at. Everybody wants to beat us because the size of the club is phenomenal. At the minute everybody wants to beat us."
Having played a 4-4-2 system for most of this campaign, Lambert started with a wing-back formation for Tuesday night's 1-0 win at MK Dons before quickly switching to a diamond midfield.
"I know they can perform well whatever we ask them to do," said the Blues boss. "That's the beauty of having a strong squad - nobody can rest and think they're safe. It doesn't matter who you are because I can leave you out and would have no qualms about it at all.
"It's never too hard to pick a team. As long as players keep looking over their shoulder and think 'I'm maybe not as safe as I thought I was' then that's a good thing."