Ipswich boss Paul Lambert hailed the fighting spirit of his side as they moved to the brink of relegation to League One after a 2-0 defeat at Brentford.
The loss leaves Town 14 points from safety with just five games left.
Goals from Brentford’s Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins sent Town home pointless.
Lambert said: “The first half was the worst 45 minutes since I’ve been at the club. We’ve been consistent and level but in the first half we just didn’t do enough.”
Town striker Collin Quaner missed a gilt-edged chance to give the basement club the lead but his clipped shot over the keeper bounced to safety off the post and Brentford broke away to score.
Lambert added: “That minute sums up our season in nutshell – he does everything right and I thought it was going in but it hit the post and they go up the park and score.
“That was the big turning point. It might have changed course of game but we have to accept we were up against a good team.”
He heaped praise on young defender Flynn Downes, whose slip gifted the Bees their second goal.
Lambert said: “The way he recovered from that was major for him and a positive for me.
“He kept on wanting the ball which was great for him. He did really well but in truth we didn’t deserve to take anything from the game.”
Lambert, though, insists that the future is bright at Portman Road.
He said: “This is a little reminder that we need some experienced lads alongside the youngsters, but games like this will help their development.
“They will learn from it and get better and better and we will become a really good side. I have no doubt of that.
“We had a very young midfield at the end and they didn’t disgrace themselves and in the second half they didn’t capitulate and we didn’t lay down. We kept on going and going and that’s the future of the club. It’s in a good place.”
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank hailed his side’s professional approach and mental strength.
“When you consider that in their last nine games Ipswich have lost only two and scored in eight, it puts this win into perspective,” said the Dane.
“We started well with a lot of intensity, scored two good goals and could have scored one more, but in the second half we lacked a little quality in the final third and in our passing. Our mental attitude was bang on though, and apart from one slip we didn’t allow them any real opportunities on goal.”
Frank was quick to laud French striker Maupay, who bagged his 25th of the campaign: “he is so dedicated, hard working, focused and driven. He has a top mentality and approach in training and games.
“We have five strikers all pushing each other and they are a joy to watch. On the defensive side I was equally pleased that we didn’t give anything away in a game where we needed to keep concentration levels high.”
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