‘That’s the worst we’ve played, really poor... it won’t happen again’ - Lambert’s frank assessment of Preston thumping
Paul Lambert admitted his side’s performance in the 4-0 loss to Preston was the worst since he arrived at the club.
The Blues were well-beaten at Deepdale, with Callum Robinson and Lukas Nmecha scoring twice for a Preston side who will have been disappointed not to have scored more.
Lambert admitted his side lacked bite and desire, playing a week on from confirmation of their relegation to League One, and told a few home truths in the dressing room at both half and full-time.
“We were nowhere near it, really, really poor,” the Ipswich manager said.
“We never turned up and got what we deserved. I’ve got no excuses.
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“That’s the worst game we’ve had since we came.
“I understand the reality of relegation and all of that because when that hits you it’s a blow. You were previously hanging into something you could try and chase.
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“But that was nowhere near the level we have played.
“You always wonder how the players will react when reality sinks in but that’s not acceptable. That’s not the way my teams play and it won’t happen again.”
When asked what he said to his players, Lambert said: “There were a few home truths at half-time and full-time.
“They know exactly my feelings on the whole thing.
“You can’t play the game of football if you’re going to stand off people and not make a challenge and do the ugly side of the game. Not running and not working.
“I think we were outplayed in every aspect of the game.
“I’m not going to stand here and sugar coat it because we’ve had supporters travel a hell of a long way to watch us play.
“It’s the game that I would say was our worst.”
When it was put to Lambert that his starting XI at Deepdale was made up entirely of players who will be with the club next season, Lambert said: “Yeah, but this one game won’t tell me everything – it’s over the course of the five months we’ve been here.
“For the last four or five months we’ve played really, really well so this one won’t tell me anything about it.
“You get performances where things don’t go right for you so it’s important we bounce back. Thank god we’ve got a game on Monday (at home to Swansea).
“I’ve got a group of young lads who will bust everything and be ready to go. The quicker the season ends the better.
“We have three hard games left, two of which can influence who goes up and who doesn’t.”
When asked about right-back Josh Emmanuel, who was replaced at half-time, Lambert said: “I thought he struggled.
“Josh is a young lad and he will get better. That’s the worst he’s probably played.
“It’s not just him, as a team we weren’t good enough.
“This is development. The boy came back (from loan at Shrewsbury) so it’s development for him.
“He’s missed a lot of football as well so there’s a lot to work with and lot of hard work to come.”
Ipswich now see out the season with a home game against Swansea before clashes with promotion-chasing Sheffield United (a) and Leeds United (h).
“If we play like that we won’t win any of them but if we play like we have in the previous games then we can definitely case them trouble,” Lambert said.
“You can’t sugar coat it, it was nowhere near good enough.”