Far too often in the modern era, managers seem more afraid of their players and their agents, than they are of the gaffer. This surely can’t be right. Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert seems to have come back from his enforced break more resolute than ever, and he is sensible enough to see a lot of the errors of his ways from last time around. Those errors cost us a realistic chance of promotion so this time he must make amends.
In fairness to the Glaswegian, he has started off on the right foot. He has reverted to his tried and tested 4-3-3 system that he says is the one he most prefers and he has made it clear to his squad that he expects an awful lot better this term. If this was a school report it would say something like, “This is not good enough. You must try an awful lot harder!”
Stuart Watson from the East Anglian Daily Times spoke in-depth with the manager in an in-depth interview that was published today and it soon becomes abundantly apparent that Lambert is a changed man. Maybe he got a kick up the backside from the owner – or just maybe, he decided, after months of reflection and introspection, that he had to change the club’s mindset.
“I think you have to do that. If you’re at a club with high expectancy levels then finishing 11th in League One was nowhere good enough – that’s for everyone, myself, the staff, the players – everyone,” Lambert explained. He went on to highlight the change in mindset that he felt he needed to bring to the table.
“I had to get that message across. Listen, some will respond to it and some won’t like it. Yet the fact that he said it was good. A manager has a much more difficult job in the modern game because they do not just have to deal with players but their agents too! The agents largely run football these days, and it is all very sad.
Lambert seems to be a man on a mission and his approach is already starting to pay dividends. Our football is more pleasing on the eye and there is a greater zest in our play. Playing out from the back has its pitfalls, we know, but players need to adapt to this. No more hooftball seems to be the order of the day, and he has decided that wrapping players up in cotton wool is counter-productive.
“If I had gone in there and said ‘welcome back, it’s great to see you, well done on last season’, well that’s not going to help anybody. And that wouldn’t have been me being me. There had to be some things said.”
Indeed there does Paul, and it is about time some of these players pulled their fingers out and had pride in wearing the shirt. Fight for the right to represent the club is the message I would send and it appears to be the message that the manager wants to impart as well.