‘I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the supporters. We’re well in the fight’ – Lambert on home draw with Derby
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert insists his team can still beat the drop following tonight’s heartening 1-1 home draw with promotion-chasing Derby County.
The Blues left the field to rapturous applause after substitute Jon Nolan’s second half strike cancelled out Tom Lawrence’s early opener.
Town are 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table with 14 games to go, free-falling Stoke City visiting Portman Road on Saturday.
“I thought we were brilliant,” enthused Lambert. “I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the supporters. We’re well in the fight. If we keep showing that, we’re well in the fight. That’s all I can ask. If we play like that and have that desire and fight then I don’t think anybody can ever point the finger.
“Absolutely (we can stay up). We are not going away that’s for sure. We are not dwindling or anything like that.
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“We have incredible support behind us. You can se that. If we keep doing what were doing let’s see what happens. There are still a hell of a lot of games.
“I never give up. I’ve told you, I’ll pick a fight! I never gave up in my career. I won some big trophies and I never won it for being Mr Nice. I’ve got a nasty streak, a great desire and I hope that rubs off on everybody else. The support have got it, the players should have it, the staff have got it. We have to make sure we never give up.
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“As long as it’s possible anything can happen.”
He continued: “It was a really young team and that’s the way forwards for the club. Young players sometimes make mistakes, but with them you get incredible honesty and desire.
“I thought we were fantastic. There was only one team going to win it and that was ourselves. We were relentless against a really good side who have so much more resource than us.”
Alan Judge shone at the tip of a midfield diamond, Lambert saying: “He’s getting better and better. You can talk about bravery being tackling and being aggressive. Bravery is when you take the ball anywhere on the pitch. The wee man certainly does that. He’s brilliant to work with.
“And I thought Bishop was outstanding for the time he was on. He will get better and better too.”
On his strike partnership of Will Keane and Collin Quaner, he said: “They were excellent. Quaner showed why I brought him here with that presence as a centre forward.”
Explaining the absence of Cole Skuse, the Blues boss said: “There’s been a bug going around the club. Trevoh (Chalobah) had it before the Norwich game, Cole got it last night, Flynn (Downes) has got it too and came off with stomach cramps. We were going to do it half-time but he said he wanted to try it.
“Nolan pops up with a great goal. I only left Nolan out because of the work rate he showed on Sunday. The boy’s got a goal in him.”
And on Jonas Knudsen playing at centre-back, he said: “He did great. I put him in for the left-foot balance. He’s got a left foot that can get you out of trouble at certain times on that side of the pitch. That’s why I decided to go with him.”