Tough game in store - but Lambert feels Wolves are improving
Paul Lambert says Wolves will head to Cardiff full of confidence on the back of Saturday’s epic comeback against Fulham - but is expecting a completely different game.
Wolves rallied from 3-1 down to lead Fulham 4-3 on Saturday before conceding an equaliser in added time in one of those fixtures which will live long in the memory.
In that game, and the previous victory at QPR, Wolves have looked full of goals in creating plenty of chances, but Lambert is steeling his troops for a tough test in South Wales this evening (7.45pm).
“The comeback on Saturday was incredible,” says the Head Coach.
“The emotion of it all, it was a rollercoaster of a game.
“To come back as we did was outstanding and it was a great atmosphere.
“Entertainment-wise, everything was fantastic.
“The pleasing thing is that we are creating lots of chances - before that, we didn’t look like scoring.
“Now we have got the energy levels up, the enthusiasm up, the tempo up.
“But we’ve got to be stronger defensively.
“The average age of the squad, and our back four, is very young.
“I think it is something like the third youngest in the league.
“You get mistakes from young players but then they learn from it and hopefully eradicate those mistakes.
“It is a young side but a talented side.
“Going forward, the energy levels we showed against a really good side in Fulham was fantastic.
“If the confidence is not there now it never will be.
“The lads are ready for it and desperate to get out there playing again.”
Lambert himself is relishing the challenge of being at Wolves, and was kicking every ball on the touchline during Saturday’s game.
That passion and enthusiasm will never waver, and he and his players were rewarded with a rousing ovation at full time despite the late equaliser.
“You always get caught up in the emotion of the game,” he explains.
“I would rather have that than not have it.
“It has not done me too bad in my career up to now so I don’t think I’ll change.
“It’s just me, that is me as a person.
“As a player I was always enthusiastic and as a manager the same.
“Would we like to go through that every week? Probably not.
“But the excitement and entertainment value – that is what you are involved in football for.
“The atmosphere was great and it was a game that I will always remember.
“The fans raised the roof and we are going to need the supporters.
“The lads got a standing ovation at the end and that was a great thing to see.”
Tonight then it is to Cardiff and a tough test against Neil Warnock’s side.
Lambert has Richard Stearman available again and will assess his squad before deciding on any changes.
“Cardiff will be a totally different game,” he says.
“They play a different way to Fulham and we are the away team.
“It will be tough but we will go down there to try and win the game.
“There is always pressure to win games, no matter where you are in the table.
“With the emotion of the game on Saturday and the energy the lads put in, we might have to look at a couple of things.
“Saturday is another big game and need to make sure we do it right to get a performance from them.”
Another position for Lambert to consider is that of goalkeeper.
Carl Ikeme is battling to be fit again following a calf problem, and Lambert has revealed he has considered making a move for an emergency loan player following the loss of both Ikeme and Andy Lonergan.
But 19-year-old Harry Burgoyne made an assured debut in Saturday’s game, and is firmly in the frame to go again if required.
“Harry was excellent,” says Lambert.
“I think he has the temperament and he has played more games than Flatty (Jon Flatt) – there wasn’t much between them, if anything.
“Harry had played more games and was on a high from the Monday night and the Under-23s win in the Checkatrade Trophy.
“He made a big save in the second half for us as well.
“Carl, out of the two of them, is probably closer than Andy who is having a problem with his knee.
“We will see how he feels, but I would have no qualms with putting Harry in again.
“This is a big game and a different game, but he has been there and earned respect for his performance.”
* Tickets are available from the Wolves Ticket Office until 1pm. There are no tickets available beyond that, or on the turnstiles at the Cardiff City Stadium. Please do not travel without a ticket.
Now we have got the energy levels up, the enthusiasm up, the tempo up