‘I’m getting blood out of a stone’ – Lambert on home draw with Sheffield United
PUBLISHED: 18:22 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 21:38 22 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says today’s hard-fought 1-1 home draw with Sheffield United was ‘huge’, but he has reiterated that it’s crucial to land reinforcements when the January transfer window opens in little over a week.
The Blues led through Ellis Harrison’s fine finish from the edge of the box (38) only to be pegged back less than two minutes after the restart when Billy Sharp headed home Oliver Norwood’s delicious deep delivery.
Following on from a gritty 1-0 home win against Wigan, rock-bottom Town have moved to within four points of Championship safety heading into festive fixtures against QPR (a), Middlesbrough (a) and Millwall (h).
“They are as good a team as I’ve seen in my short time here,” said Lambert. “All credit to my own team. We are a really young side, so much inexperience, as I’ve always said. Their application and enthusiasm for the game is great. We tried to play our game against a really good side. Towards the end it could have gone either way.
“It’s huge (the point). They are sitting in the top five. Look at our squad; Dozzell, Lankester, Downes, Chalobah... They are 18/19 year olds. I’d love to know if there is another team in the division with that many young players. Our midfield is so inexperienced it’s unreal.
“What we do have is a great desire. I think Chalobah is going to be an exceptional player, Andre (Dozzell) is getting his first start for a while... We’re getting there slowly but surely, we just need a bit of help as I’ve always said.
“I’m getting blood out of a stone as they say. I’m getting everything out of them. I can’t ask for any more. They need a little bit of help, as I’ve always said. If it comes it comes, if it doesn’t come it doesn’t come. In my mind they need a bit of help and everyone recognises it.
“There are a lot of lads here who have never played this division. Everybody else has experienced teams and we have young lads trying to make a name for themselves.
“I got asked the question ‘how do you make them better?’ Well I think that’s there for everybody to see.
“I can’t ask for any more effort. I love working with them. They’ve been absolutely brilliant.”
Having said that the club was being quoted ‘ludicrous’ fees for players this week, Lambert said: “I know exactly what it’s like. The Championship is a knock-on effect from the Premiership; the finances are really incredible. You can’t put the club in a precarious position. People think it’s dead easy to get a loan in. It’s not because the finances are huge.
“We need to make sure this club is going to be stable for a number of years.”
On Harrison’s strike, the Blues boss said: “It was a fantastic goal. The pressure on the ball made the goal happen. It’s just a wonder finish. I’m delighted for him because he’s been patient. He was injured when I came in and (Jordan) Roberts’ performances have been really, really high; both him and Kayden (Jackson). I just thought I’d throw him in for this one.”
On Town showing character after being pegged back so soon after the restart, Lambert said: “The atmosphere in the stadium helps that. As I’ve said before, the atmosphere is fantastic here. I really enjoy playing here. I think everybody can see that we’re in the fight.”
Norwood somehow escaped with a booking towards the end when kicking out angrily at Chalobah in an act of retribution right under the nose of referee Andy Woolmer.
“I think it was a stonewall red,” said Lambert. “The referee... I need to choose my words here because I don’t want to lose some money over the Christmas period! You all saw it. I think the referee was a bit, erm, indecisive in certain situations shall we say.
“The actual foul leading up to it might have been a Sheffield United foul, but how that’s not a red card I don’t know. I think Chris (Wilder) has said the same.”