'Some of the decisions were a bit strange' - what Paul Lambert said about Ipswich's loss to Portsmouth
Paul Lambert focused his post-match interviews around the refereeing display of Brett Huxtable following his side’s 1-0 loss to Pompey.
The Ipswich boss admitted he substituted Toto Nsiala before half-time because he couldn’t guarantee the defender wouldn’t receive a second yellow card.
Huxtable dished out eight cautions in total, as well as sending off Tractor Boys skipper Luke Chambers in stoppage-time for a second bookable offence.
In addition, Blues coach Jake Wigley and visiting assistant manager Stuart Taylor went into the book.
Nsiala had been cautioned for a foul on Ellis Harrison and was walking a disciplinary tightrope afterwards.
That led to the centre-back being replaced by Alan Judge in the 38th minute.
Ronan Curtis went on to grab the only goal of the game with a superb strike in the 50th minute.
And Lambert, whose Ipswich side dropped out of the top two with a defeat at Fratton Park, reckons some of Huxtable’s decisions were ‘a bit strange.’
He told twtd.co.uk: ‘Looking at the game, the way it was going, I always thought one goal was going to be decisive.
‘Toto coming off disrupted us a little bit, I had to take him off for obvious reasons. I just think the way the referee was going about it, we didn’t know what way his cards were going to go. So to protect Toto and the team (I subbed him).
‘I thought Toto had a good game the time he was on. I didn’t see any problem with his tackling. What set the tone of the game was the first challenge on Luke Chambers, which I thought was a bad one. I just thought some of the decisions were a bit strange.
‘We had some good moments with balls coming across the face of the goal, some good play, but they got the decisive goal.
‘I said to him it’s the first time in my management career that I’ve taken someone off thinking, “What is the referee going to do here?”. Because the way the game was going, the way the referee was going about it, I wasn’t sure what they’d do with Toto.
“Toto made a really good tackle here on the Portsmouth guy and everybody was up in arms saying it was a free-kick, and I think he actually gave it. Then I thought (I’d have to take him off) but his game was good”.’
Despite Ipswich falling out of the automatic-promotion places, Lambert is confident his side will be in the mix come the end of the season.
He added: ‘This time last year Portsmouth were sitting top and never got near it, and that can happen.
‘Ipswich will be there or thereabouts, I’ve got no doubt about that. Hopefully we can do it automatically, hopefully we can win it. We’re still a really good side, but you don’t win anything in December.’