'If you're just 'nearly there' then you are better off being a mile away' - Lambert previews Easter Monday clash with Swansea

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 April 2019

Will Keane could return to the starting line-up having made his injury comeback as a second half sub at Preston. Photo: Pagepix

Will Keane could return to the starting line-up having made his injury comeback as a second half sub at Preston. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town host Swansea City at Portman Road this afternoon. STUART WATSON previews the action.

Trevoh Chalobah was also a second half substitute at Preston. Photo: PagepixTrevoh Chalobah was also a second half substitute at Preston. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert hopes supporters don't forget some of the recent good performances if the season is to end on a flat note.

In what was their first game following the confirmation of relegation to League One, the rock-bottom Blues suffered a 4-0 thrashing at Preston North End on Good Friday – their heaviest defeat of a miserable campaign.

MORE: 'That's the worst we've played, really poor... it won't happen again' - Lambert's frank assessment of Preston thumping

The players looked physically and emotionally shot and there are still three tough looking games left to play. Following today's visit of a mid-table Swansea City there are matches against automatic promotion vying duo Sheffield United (a) and Leeds (h).

Lambert pulled no punches in his post-match assessment at Deepdale, but added: “I think it's important not to forget the good performances. That would be crazy.

“I wouldn't judge Ipswich Town on this game alone. It's human nature to think 'you are only as good as your last game', but there has been some good things happening here and there will be a lot of good things going forwards.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 4-0 defeat at Preston North End

Kayden Jackson looks up in disbelief after being adjudged to have fouled a defender at Preston. Picture PagepixKayden Jackson looks up in disbelief after being adjudged to have fouled a defender at Preston. Picture Pagepix

“Today is the first time I've ever said about the team being nowhere near it – the first time in five months. Every other game we've been in the fight and looked a decent side.

“Supporters have seen over the course of the few months we've been here the way we play and what our style is. Today was not us.

“The lads have played with a lot of strain in their game for a hell of a long time. They've performed without getting the breaks. We've played some really good football – quick, energetic, fast – and never got the rewards we deserved.

“Today we got what we deserved, absolutely nothing, because we never turned up. But that can happen. When relegation sinks in it can be an absolute body blow.

MORE: Player ratings: A difficult afternoon for many at Deepdale as Town lack bite in Preston loss

“They are young lads and they will bounce back from it, without a doubt. But listen we know as a group that wasn't good enough.”

On today's game with Swansea, he said: “First and foremost we're going to have to run because that was nowhere near the level I expect today.

Paul Lambert says Corris Ndaba will be handed his debut before the end of the season. Photo: PagepixPaul Lambert says Corris Ndaba will be handed his debut before the end of the season. Photo: Pagepix

“I hope that will be a one off because that's not acceptable. None of my teams play like that. You can accept the odd game here and there, when things don't really happen for you, but today I don't think we really did anything.

“I know from experience that when you lose big games that it can be hard to lift yourself. No matter how much you try everything seems to go wrong. Your passing goes astray and you're just nearly there.

MORE: 'Seems like the only people who want this season to end more than the fans are the players. Pathetic' - Town fans react to Preston humbling

“Well if you're just 'nearly there' then you are better being a mile away because 'nearly there' is not good enough. You have to be bang on it.

“You always get disappointments in football. The main thing is you don't let it manifest.”

Stat attack

4 – Town level with Blackpool (14/15) for lowest ever number of Championship wins.

7 – Straight away losses for Swansea (QPR, Forest, West Brom, Norwich, Sheff Weds, Leeds, Bristol City).

7 – Town are one of only seven teams in the Premier League and Football League to have scored less than a goal a game at home (19 in 21). The others are Huddersfield, Palace, Bolton, Yeovil, Notts County and Cambridge Utd.

Opposition lowdown

Last five finishes: 18th, 15th, 12th, 8th, 12th (all Premier League)

Manager: Graham Potter (June 2018): P47 W20 D8 L19

Last 10 games: WLWWW LLLLW

Last game: Rotherham (h) W 4-3 (Fri)

Last away game: QPR L 4-0

Away form: W5 D4 L12 F20 A32

Margins of victory: 1 (x9), 2 (x5), 3+ (x6)

Margins of defeat: 1 (x14), 2 (x2), 3+ (x3)

Top-scorers: 19: McBurnie; 5: Celina, Roberts

Most league starts: 42: van der Hoorn; 40: Roberts; 36: Grimes; 33: McBurnie, Celina

Last meeting

Swansea City 2 Ipswich Town 3

Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018

Town secured their first win under Paul Hurst's management. Connor Roberts put the hosts ahead (7), but a Gwion Edwards finish (27) and Mike van der Hoorn own goal (31) had the Blues in front. Bersant Celina (79) struck against his former club before Trevoh Chalobah's winner (84).

Stu's prediction

Ipswich Town 0 Swansea City 2

Town look physically and emotionally shot. Swansea can play.

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