‘I can’t believe the negativity’ – Lambert insists Town haven’t yet hit a bump in the road

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Ross Halls - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town host Bristol Rovers in a top-six League One clash tomorrow. Here’s what Paul Lambert had to say about recent form, style of play and more.

Q: What's the mood like in the camp after Tuesday night (2-1 home loss to Coventry in FA Cup)?

A: It's a natural thing to be a bit down after losing a game like that, but we have no doubt the boys will bounce back. It will be a different game this weekend, with a different atmosphere.

The players recognised it wasn't good enough, everybody does, and they will be ready to go again.

Q: Bristol Rovers are fifth in the table and come here unbeaten in nine...

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A: They're a good side and are on a good run at the moment.

Every team in this league will raise their game against us and we have to go up above that, like we have done for most of the season.

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We'll look to do that again and get back to the way we were playing prior to that Coventry game.

They will be a handful. Strong, big, organised and everything you will expect. It's not an easy game.

Q: The team played really well in the first half against Coventry last weekend. How much encouragement did that give you?

A: We never got a result, we drew. The game's about winning games and winning titles.

It's great to play good football, lovely for the eye, but you have to win and that's the nature of the game.

If somebody said 'you won't play well but you'll win' I'd take that and move on.

We played good for 45 minutes but the game lasts 90. Some of the football was excellent and we could have been three or four up and I don't think anyone would have begrudged us that. But at the end of the day we have to win.

We've been playing well and have been relentless with the intensity but that wasn't there on Tuesday night.

You can't play well for 45 minutes and only be 1-0 up.

Q: From your experience, how important is the busy Christmas schedule in making or breaking a season?

A: The league's the most important thing and, now we're in a run of those games (after playing five cup games in the last eight), we'll see how we get on before we have to go and play Exeter (in the EFL Trophy).

I go game by game. Some staff members do (look at them as a block) but I don't. There's no point looking past this one to Accrington a few weeks later or whoever we're playing. There's no point because you have to take care of the one that comes next.

Q: You've said winning is everything. It was 10 wins in the first 14, the team has now won three of the last 13. What's the reason behind that, do you think, and is it a concern?

A: Number one we don't have a divine right to win games just because we're a big club. The club was not in a good condition when we came in and it's come on a hell of a long way.

What's heightened it has been the crowd coming back and putting the club in a good place. Whether I'm here or not the club's bigger than anybody because the fans make it.

You were getting 12,000 or 13,000 in there and it was like a morgue. Now it's totally different with 20,000 coming in to the football club. There have been great strides but you're a country mile from where you want to get to, but at least we've given something to supporters which I said would happen.

We'll have our ups and down and we'll need the support because there's no game without them. We need the support to be vibrant, like they have been, through thick and thin and the bits where you do go up and down.

The community is engaging with the club, which is great. If you go back to 12 or 13,000 it was like a morgue and they were bored stiff with no atmosphere. They can see a team that will have a go at this.

We don't have a divine right to win games. Sunderland had a hard go at this last year, Sheffield United were here five years and Nottingham Forest and Leeds United have been in it too.

It's tough, really tough. We have no divine right to win this league and we have to earn it. Changing the mentality to the way it is now is a big achievement.

Q: You always said there would be bumps in the road. Has the last few weeks been the first bump in the road?

A: No. We've lost two league games. Two league games we've lost.

We drew the last few and are sitting second, a few points off it with a game in hand.

I can't believe the negativity here, it's incredible. I'd have loved to have seen it when it wasn't going well. Dear oh dear, when you have negativity or negative people around the place it isn't going to work. We've lost two games!

I've said to the lads at the Blue Action group, who have been brilliant and a major catalyst for everything, 'why pay £30 a ticket to come and sit on you're a*** and moan and criticise - I'd rather sit at home and have my t*** nagged off by my missus'.

Why come and pay the money to sit and criticise somebody for 90 minutes? I wouldn't be involved in that. I'd rather leave.

Come and enjoy it, whether you have flares, bring flags or like to jump about. I've seen it all in Germany and I've been involved in it. I'd rather that happen than people not being excited.

Q: Some of the passing football in the first half of the league game at Coventry was a joy to watch. Is that, ultimately, the style of football you want the team to play?

A: You need winning football, that's the game. There are two different ways to do it.

You have the perception of Pep Guardiola's football. He's a world class manager. I've met him and it's unbelievable what he's done at Barcelona, Man City and he's one of the best things to hit the Premier League. The players he had to do it were unbelievable and the system he did it with was unbelievable.

People try and copy it and see a good idea but you can't do it without the players. Look at Jurgen (Klopp) and Mauricio (Pochettino) at Tottenham. It's a different game because they go with intensity, pressing and speed but if you sit and ask the two of them I guarantee they will say it's about winning, regardless of how you do it.

You can't copy it, you have to go with what you think. There's no right way and wrong way to play football.

We have to win, regardless of how we do it with exciting football. Nobody will thank me if we pass it around at the back and go nowhere, that's not the game.

You have to score more than the opposition. There's no right or wrong way to do it but you have to try and win, regardless of how you do it.

The guys have given us everything and we go and try and win however you can, whether that's with hectic high intensity football or whether it's possession-based. Fans want to see goals.

I wouldn't like to play football and come away getting beat every week, you go in to win.

You can't come off the pitch and say 'we played great but we lost'. That only softens the blow. You go in to win and that's what professional sport is about. It's not about second or third, it's about winning.

You can look at any league in the world and you'll see everyone has their own style of play. Leipzig (in Germany) are intense while Bayern (Munich) keep the ball, but it's Leipzig who are top of the table.

Liverpool are top of the Premier League through pure intensity and really good play while Man City play possession. Leicester are playing well. Every team has their own style but every manager will tell you it's about winning.

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