'I believe in all the players... but we have to handle the pressure' - Chambers on Town's promotion bid
- Credit: www.stephenwaller.com
Captain Luke Chambers firmly believes his Ipswich Town squad have what it takes to win promotion this season.
The Blues are ninth in League One, sitting two points off the play-offs with nine games to go following yesterday’s 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers.
Manager Paul Cook recently admitted he wasn’t sure whether his players truly believed they were capable of making the top six, but Chambers has faith in his team’s ability to do just that.
“We have to believe. I do believe,” he said.
“We can’t start seasons in the way we have in the last two years (topping the table early on) and then be awful. That can’t happen.
“It’s maybe a psychological thing we have maybe built up over a period of time that we have to get rid of. The gaffer is trying to knock that down for us.
“I believe in all the players. I always have done and I’ll back them to the hilt, but we have to handle the pressure and the expectation. We need to keep our heads down and keep each game as it comes because it’s a nine-game season.”
He continued: “The mental side of the game is something that isn’t focussed on enough, both on and off the pitch.
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“It’s been a tricky year for everyone in terms of not playing in front of fans and approaching games differently with training and (Covid) protocols. It’s not easy so the lads have to talk to each other, where they’re struggling in games and in training and things like that.
“All we’ve got is each other and we’ve always stuck together. We’ve ground a result out today and we’re delighted.”
Town rushed into a 2-0 lead after just 11 minutes against the Gas, before seeing their lead halved soon after as Luke McCormick punished an Andre Dozzell.
The victory ultimately proved to be a workmanlike one but Chambers believes it could be a hugely important one.
“Every game is going to be important now and we need to take what we can,” he said.
“We started the game brilliantly but we then tried to give them something. Doz (Andre Dozzell) has been massive for us and has played every game this season, pretty much, and he’s been encouraged to get on the ball as much as he can to influence games so those things can happen.
“We won’t be pointing fingers because he didn’t try and shy away and still got on the ball whenever he can and was competitive for us in there. We move on, we stick together and we went on to win.
“It’s a very important win for us. We play teams in and around the same area in the league (bottom six) and they won’t be easy. They won’t lie down.
“We want to go out there and play free-flowing football, dominating possession, but sometimes that isn’t possible. We showed we can find ways to win games and we have nine more of them to go.”
Next up for Town is a trip to rock-bottom Rochdale on Monday, where Chambers will be expecting his side to back up their success over Rovers.
“We have to,” he said.
“We have to play with freedom and approach the game in the same way we started against Bristol Rovers and that will give us a great foothold.
“You have to come out for a game be ready for it. How can you not be? It shouldn’t need anyone to gee you up for it, whoever we’re playing.
“Look at the environment we’re in. It’s huge for people to come and play at Portman Road because of the history, the fanbase and the size of the club. Everyone’s going to enjoy that battle.
“You raise your game every time you step on a football pitch and you make sure you’re competitive. If someone produces a bit of magic and scores and incredible goal against you then you put your hands up, but if you’re Ipswich Town you have to perform.”