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'It's definitely the right decision' - Town chief explains thinking behind Lambert's surprise five-year deal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 January 2020

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has signed a new five-year deal. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has signed a new five-year deal. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert signed a fresh five-year deal on New Year's Day. General manager of football operations Lee O'Neill explains the thinking behind the decision.

Ipswich Town general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill talks to club owner Marcus Evans at Wycombe Wanderers. Photo: PagepixIpswich Town general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill talks to club owner Marcus Evans at Wycombe Wanderers. Photo: Pagepix

Paul Lambert extending his contract until 2025 gives Ipswich Town the chance to 'build for the future', says general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill.

Lambert threw his own future into doubt with some unprompted and cryptic comments following the goalless home draw with Gillingham on Boxing Day.

A 5-3 defeat at Lincoln followed, only for the club to announce he had penned a new five-year deal prior to the 1-1 draw at Wycombe on New Year's Day.

"It's great for the football club to have that stability. It's chance to build over the years to come," explained O'Neill, the Blues having dropped to fifth in the League One table following a return of 11 points from their last 12 games.

"We haven't performed as well as we'd like over the last 10 games or so - I get that, I understand it - but we feel this is definitely the right decision for the football club to have stability in order to build over the next six, 12, 18, 24 months.

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"It puts things to rest on a number of things that were addressed and allows the club to build for the future."

Asked if the contract was in response to Lambert recently saying he 'didn't know' if he would quit, O'Neill said: "Absolutely not. The conversations between Paul and Marcus (Evans) have been going on for quite a while.

Ipswich Town players celebrate James Norwood's opener in the 1-1 draw  at Wycombe. Photo: PagepixIpswich Town players celebrate James Norwood's opener in the 1-1 draw at Wycombe. Photo: Pagepix

"He loves the town, loves the area and wants to settle down here.

"You hate using the term 'longer-term project' in a way, but it's a plan to build for the future. This allows us to do that.

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"We all want to be out of the league as quickly as possible. We've seen in recent weeks that won't be easy. If you look at some of the performances, we haven't done enough. Today (at Wycombe) has been a lot better and big step in the right direction for 2020.

Paul Lambert had called his own future into question following the Boxing Day home draw with Gillingham. Photo: Steve WallerPaul Lambert had called his own future into question following the Boxing Day home draw with Gillingham. Photo: Steve Waller

"It's a big year for the club and we definitely do want to be challenging to get out of this league as quick as possible. We also understand the realism that it might take a bit of time.

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"That's not what anyone wants to hear, I understand that. They want it to be done as quick as possible, and that's definitely our objective.

"Marcus gets as disappointed as we all do when we don't win a game of football. It's frustrating when that happens, but don't take your eye off the bigger picture which is something we're always talking about.

"The relationship Paul and Marcus have is very good and very strong. We're looking to build for the future."

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