‘I don’t want to go long’ – Lambert will stick to his passing principles in attempt to entertain
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town host Bristol City in a Championship clash this evening. STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he’ll continue to demand that his team play front foot, passing football in an attempt to entertain their long-suffering fans.
The Blues may have claimed just two points from the experienced Scot’s first three games in charge, but the atmosphere at Portman Road throughout Friday night’s 2-1 defeat to West Brom was proof that supporters are buying into Lambert’s methods.
Recent Blues loanee Jon Walters was on television punditry duty that evening and questioned Town’s tactic of keeper Bartosz Bialkowski repeatedly trying to play the ball short to centre-backs down the sides of the box or to deep midfielder Cole Skuse – all of whom were well-marked.
“We don’t have a massive physical presence to go back to front. And I don’t want to play that way anyway,” said Lambert.
“I think the passing count was 455 to us to West Brom’s high 290s/300-odd. We were brilliant on the ball.
“If we go back-to-front it’s going to keep coming back. I’d rather play football on the ground.
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“I’m the one responsible for us playing that way. If I wanted to go long and back and long and back then I’d bring in guys who are about 6ft 9in.
“I don’t want to play that way. I’ll play my way. I’ll take responsibility for it. The lads have taken it all in really quickly and are getting better at it.
“They are having the courage to want the ball. If you want to be a top team you have to play with no fear. You do find if you dominate the ball you do have better chances to win the game.
“I played with clubs who were always on the front foot. I won’t play any other way.
“I want us to entertain because we’re in an entertainment business. I think people sometimes forget that.”
Bristol City arrive in Suffolk tonight on a four-game losing streak.
“We’ve given everybody an ignition of fire with how we want to play,” said Lambert.
“Before there was a real lowness where people could give or take coming to the games.
“This football club has taken some hard knocks, but I think it’s been galvanised.
“This isn’t a normal situation where a team is at the bottom of the table and the atmosphere is like it was on Friday night.
“We need everybody together. Without the fans there is no game. We need to reconnect with supporters – not just for now but for the future.
“There’s only one team in the town. Use it; that will be powerful. If you get the fans in and they enjoy it for those 90 minutes then they’ll return.
“I want people to forget about their lives when they come to the stadium and pay their money – be it five pounds, 10 pounds or 30 pounds. I know if it was me I’d just look to have a right good time.
“We will try and entertain them. I’m pretty sure if we keep doing what we’re doing then we will fill the stadium again.”
233 – Days since Town won at home (D7 L4)
4 – Straight defeats for Bristol City
37 – Town have produced 37 shots in Lambert’s first three games compared to a combined eight in the previous three
Last five finishes: 11th, 17th, 18th (all Championship), 1st, 12th (League One)
Manager: Lee Johnson (Feb ‘16: P142 W54 D33 L55)
Last game: L 2-0 Leeds (a)
Away league record: W3 D2 L4 F11 A12
Form: LLLLW WLDDL
Margins of victory: 1 (x4), 3 (x2)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x6), 2 (x3)
Top-scorers: Weimann (5), Diedhiou, Brownhill (3)
League ever-presents: Hunt, Webster, Brownhill, Pack (18)
Bristol City 1 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Milan Djuric’s second-half header condemned Town to their first away defeat in six. It followed hot on the heels of a 3-0 midweek home loss to Hull.
Town had lost 3-1 at Ashton Gate – Josh Brownhill, Famara Diedhiou and Bobby Reid with the Robins’ goals.
Ipswich Town 1 Bristol City 0
Town playing much better. Robins rocking. This could be lift-off.