'His general game has got to get better... He needs time' - Lambert on Norwood
PUBLISHED: 11:52 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:43 14 February 2020
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert wants the rest of his team to start chipping in with goals, admitting there is an unfair amount of pressure being put on striker James Norwood's shoulders.
It's been 461 minutes since the Blues last scored a goal from open play (Kayden Jackson's winner at Tranmere), with Lambert's men having slipped from first to seventh in the League One table during a four-game winless streak.
Several players have been guilty of not taking decent chances in the recent games at Sunderland (1-0 away loss) and AFC Wimbledon (0-0), but the spotlight has fallen on Norwood - the team's 11 goal topscorer - given his reputation has a prolific finisher for former club Tranmere.
Lambert revealed in midweek that Norwood's confidence was low. Asked if there was too much of a burden on his strikers to score, the Blues boss replied: "Definitely. You can't just rely on the strikers. When people say you struggle for goals they automatically put it on the forwards. Everybody has to help.
"It's the same with defending. You don't just blame defenders when you're conceding. It's a collective thing going forwards and back. It's unfair to put this all on the forwards. Everybody has to chip in. "
Asked if he had put his arm around Norwood in the build-up to tomorrow's home match with Burton, Lambert said: "We had a chat the other day. You've got to remember that kid came from League Two up to a huge football club. He needs time.
He's done well in a lot of games and had hard times in other games. He's had his injury.
"There is a lot of pressure on him because everybody thinks he would do what he did at Tranmere here.
"He's scored a few goals for us. His general game's got to get better, I think he knows that. He's got to go through these wee hard stages as well as enjoying the good times. Everything's not always going to be plain sailing.
"At this little moment he's having a bit of a hard time of it. Whether he starts or not, he's still a handful."
Ipswich have scored 20 goals in their last 20 league games, the same number promotion rivals Peterborough have scored in their last six.
Quizzed about how shooting practice had been going in training, Lambert said: "Training's totally different to playing. Training's easy because there's no crowd, no media hanging around and no fans there. It's easy.
"When you come to matchday the real ball comes out and that separates the men from the boys. We're playing well but we just have to take the chances. We'd be more worried if we weren't making the chances.
"We just need to have that break in front of the goal. You could shoot 50 shots at goal in training and score them all but come matchday you're nowhere near it. It's only there that it matters.
"The lads do crossing and finishing in training and we have goals flying in left, right and centre but on the actual matchday it's different. You can't compare it because the real game is a completely different animal.
"The boys are playing well enough to win games, that's important, but they just need to finish off their good work and play with freedom."