‘We were the better team and deserved to win’ – Lambert on 1-1 draw at West Brom
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert hailed his players and the club’s supporters following this afternoon’s heartening 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing West Brom.
Stefan Johansen’s heavily-deflected free-kick gave the Baggies a fourth-minute lead, but Town responded superbly and levelled through Jon Nolan’s expert header soon after the restart.
Both keepers made smart stops, but it was rock-bottom Ipswich who looked the far more accomplished side in front of a vocal travelling support of 1,246.
“We’ve been playing really well, the problem has been in both boxes, so us playing like that is not new to me,” said Lambert.
“I thought we were the better team and deserved to win. We could have been three or four-one, we had so many chances.
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“The courage we had to take the ball and the way we passed it... We’ve got some really good players.
“We don’t look like a team at the bottom that’s for sure.”
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On Nolan, who produced an impressive midfield performance along with his goal, the Blues boss said: “He was excellent. Him and Gwion (Edwards), who has been playing really well.
“Nolan’s got a goal in him. He’s a really clever footballer. I think he’s getting better and better with his understanding of the game.
“I said before that it can take some players a season to grasp what they’re involved in. Nolan of late has been excellent.
“I thought everybody today was excellent.”
Asked about the incredible vocal support received, Lambert shook his head and replied: “Oh, dear oh dear... They were letting off smoke bombs weren’t they? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!
“You cover it. I can only say what I’ve seen in the few months I’ve been here. It’s not a normal crowd for a bottom of the table team.
“I cannot thank them enough for the support they’ve given us.
“I think they enjoy watching us play. Okay we haven’t had the results we’ve deserved, but they can hopefully see that the club will get built and looked after.”
Kayden Jackson replaced the hobbling Collin Quaner at half-time, with Lambert – whose team travel to Bristol City on Tuesday night – explaining: “We need to see how he is. My idea was to play Collin in this one and Kayden in the next one. I thought Kayden did great. That’s the best he’s been when he came on.
“Flynn (Downes) wasn’t well last night, (Matthew) Pennington the same. We’ve had a virus around the training ground for a few months that we just can’t get rid of.
“Trevoh (Chalobah, thigh strain) maybe will be back for Tuesday.
“I’ll freshen it up because the performance level today was excellent.”
Discussing the bigger picture, he added: “The infrastructure had to get fixed. It’s not just about building a football team it’s about building a football club. The Community Trust was never there, the connection to the supporters...
“The only way I leave the club is if Marcus (Evans) says ‘go’. That would be no problem because I’ve given everything here to make a connection with the support.
“I love the club, I think it’s great. I don’t like the position it’s in. The support is unbelievable.
“I think they are enjoying it. They are not enjoying the league position we are in, but I think they are enjoying the excitement of what maybe could happen.
“I’ve said since I’ve come into the club that the future is bright. I could name the five young ones – (Teddy) Bishop, (Flynn) Downes, who was ill, (Jack) Lankester, who is injured, (Myles) Kenlock and (Andre) Dozzell.
“We had Tristan Nydam and Josh Emmanuel on the bench today. And there are one or two younger ones beneath them.
“The club is in a really good place. The infrastructure is there. It’s just about rebuilding the club again.
“There are some really good players here and we could be a top side if they develop.”