‘We’re set up to play football, not long ball’ - Nolan wants Town to get ball down and play

PUBLISHED: 10:50 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 19 December 2019

Jon Nolan wants Ipswich Town to get the ball down and play. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Jon Nolan wants Ipswich Town to get the ball down and play. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Ipswich Town star Jon Nolan says the Blues are playing too much long-ball football – and revealed that he and his fellow players are not a fan of boss Paul Lambert’s rotation policy.

Jon Nolan on the ball during Town's 1-1 draw with Coventry City in the second round of the FA Cup Photo: ROSS HALLSJon Nolan on the ball during Town's 1-1 draw with Coventry City in the second round of the FA Cup Photo: ROSS HALLS

Nolan, talking to the media ahead of Saturday's clash at Portsmouth, said the Blues have often been 'sucked in' to playing long ball tactics, when their players are better suited to keeping it on the floor.

Town, although still second in the table with a game in hand on many, are suffering through a dip in form which has seen them struggle to create chances and lose 2-1 at home to fellow promotion chasers Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

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Nolan said: "We know we can do a lot better. I saw a table the other day - home form table and away form table. We're top of the away table and somewhere like 12th in the home one.

"If anyone has a successful season home form has got to be up there, so it's something we've got to rectify quick.

"I'm not sure (what the issues are at Portman Road). We know teams are going to come and play it different but I think we've been getting sucked into playing a bit different - a bit predictable with the long balls and all to Kayden.

"We've just to work harder to break teams down. It's going to be frustrating because teams are coming to frustrate us."

Paul Lambert's rotation policy has been criticised - and Jon Nolan says the players don't like it. Picture: ROSS HALLSPaul Lambert's rotation policy has been criticised - and Jon Nolan says the players don't like it. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Asked how he felt about playing the number ten role, the 27-year-old added: "I wouldn't say it was my ideal position, I'm not a natural number ten.

"I'm more I'd say an eight, box-to-box, but I can see why the manager wants to put me in there because I'll run all day, I cover the distance every game, but I think in a number ten ideally you want to play in a team who are passing the ball on the floor, because as a number ten you want to get the ball on the half-turn and slip Nors (James Norwood) and Kayden (Jackson) through.

"I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've got the ball on the half turn and been able to slip them through, but I'll do a job there.

"You've got to (chip in with goals as a number ten). But there's where I think we've been sucked in to playing long ball, it's like we're hoping that the ball drops there, rather than building through the thirds, which we've got the players to do and which I think we should be doing.

When he was asked if Town aren't playing enough football, he replied: "Yeah, that's only my opinion. If you look at our squad, we're set up really to play football rather than go long ball - we haven't got a target man.

"If we had Akinfenwa then yeah, get it up to him and get it off the big man, but I'm sure Nors and Kayden want the ball played down the sides so they can use their pace, they're not target men.

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"We can do that as well, to be honest, but I think as a team, players individually, we're set up to play through the thirds. Most of our players are more comfortable with the ball on the floor."

Lambert's rotation policy has come under fire in recent weeks, with multiple changes to line-ups and formations made during a run of games in the FA Cup, EFL Trophy and League One.

And Nolan said: "I don't think as players we like rotation policy but the gaffer's there to make decisions, we've got a big squad and he's got to utilise it."

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