‘We’ve not been good enough... There is no other way to dress it up’ – Lambert reflects on relegation ahead of Leeds finale
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Relegated Ipswich Town host promotion-chasing Leeds United at Portman Road in their season finale tomorrow lunchtime (12.30pm ko). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admits there is no way of dressing up how bad this season has been.
The Blues head into tomorrow’s finale against promotion-chasing Leeds United at Portman Road guaranteed of a bottom place finish.
There have been only four wins and three clean sheets. On just three occasions have they scored more than once on home soil. Town are all set to play third-tier football for the first time since 1957. The sobering stats are numerous.
“We’ve not been good enough – that’s the bottom line,” conceded Lambert, who replaced Paul Hurst in the hot-seat at the end of October.
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“The season starts in August. We’ve not been good enough over 46 games. There is no other way to dress it up. Over the whole course of the season it’s not been good enough.”
Since relegation was confirmed with a 1-1 home draw against Birmingham on April 13, Town have been comfortably beaten by Preston (4-0 away), Swansea (1-0 at home) and Sheffield United (2-0 away).
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More than 4,000 Leeds fans will descend on Suffolk today. They had hoped that this would be a promotion party, but a three-game winless run – defeats to Wigan and Brentford followed by a draw with Aston Villa – means they have to be content with a play-off place.
A draw tomorrow would guarantee them third spot and a two-legged semi-final against Derby, Middlesbrough or Bristol City.
“If we don’t match them for desire then it will be a difficult game,” said Lambert, whose team were completely outplayed at Bramall Lane last weekend.
“We’ll do everything we can to send our fans away with smiles on their faces, but Leeds United are favourites – let’s not kid ourselves.
“They are higher than us in the league, they’ve won more games, they are a relentless team and they beat us at Elland Road pretty easy. If we don’t match their energy then we’re in for a hard, hard 90 minutes. If we match that then we’ve got a chance.”
He added: The last few games have not been the standard we had because relegation has set in, but there were a lot of draws where I thought we played really well and didn’t get the rub of the green or weren’t quite composed enough.
“I think the whole football club needs a holiday.”
Last five finishes: 13th, 7th, 13th, 15th, 15th (all Championship)
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa (Jun ‘18): W26 D8 L14
Last 10 games: DLLWW LWLWW
Last game: D 1-1 Aston Villa (h)
Last away game: L 2-0 Brentford
Away league record: W11 D4 L7 F33 A26
Margins of victory: 1 (x15), 2 (x6), 3+ (x5)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x8), 2 (x5), 3+ (x1)
Top-scorers: 14: Roofe; 12: Hernandez; 9: Bamford; 7: Alioski
Most league starts: 45: Klich; 44: Alioski; 41: Phillips; 36: Cooper, Jansson, Hernandez
Leeds Utd 2 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2018
This was Paul Hurst’s 15th and final game in charge of Town. Kemar Roofe (22) and Pablo Hernandez (66) scored in either half as the Yorkshire hosts moved top of the table. Town beat Leeds 1-0 at Portman Road in January 2018 thanks to Bersant Celina’s 25-yard rocket.
Ipswich Town 0 Leeds Utd 1
Leeds will want to rediscover winning feeling for play-offs.