Lennie Lawrence Q&A
Thanks to everyone who attended the AGM last Thursday. We got the pleaseure of a 45 minute Q&A with Lennie Lawrence who was extremely open and forthright with his answers on an array of subjects ranging from formations to new signings to the development of the younger players at CPFC. You can find a summary of the Q&A below:
Q: How did you feel the game against Forest went?
A: Simon Cox was particularly impressive; we go undone by a mixture of poor defending and inspirational play by Cox. We have never done well against ten men and that is something we have to look at
Q: KG Seems to have transformed as a player this year?
A:KG was overweight but he has done extra training and been on a diet and now he is a different player. At 90kg he is now at a good weight and looks the part. He forms part of a strong midfield right now. We managed to get KG back 2 days earlier than normal from South Africa and that meant he had more recovery time for the game at Charlton.
Q: Owen Garvan also seems to be doing well?
A: Yes, Owen has worked very hard over the past few months and has developed his all round game which has made him a better player.
Q: Where do you see Jonny Williams’ best position in the long term?
A: In the hole behind the striker. He will be playing at the very top of the game in years to come, but we have to be careful with him in his development. We experimented with putting Zaha there in pre-season but we didn’t think it was a total success.
Q: Why put 11 men back at corners?
A: Well at PNE we left 2 up and look what happened! We place Zaha on the edge of the area so that we are able to counter-attack as the opposition get sucked in
Q: How do you think Moritz is fitting in?
A: He has done very well. Before he joined Palace he had never done strength work before so we have been working on that, and in the past week in training he has been on fire. His best position is behind the main striker. We will be looking to rotate central midfield as it is too much to ask players to play Tuesday / Saturday / Tuesday.
Q: Should another striker play with Murray?
A: We feel Murray doesn’t combine that well with other strikers. And if we do play with two strikers and two wingers then this opens us up to being overrun in midfield.
Q: How do you feel about the squad?
The squad has a lot more depth this season, with a first eleven that can rival that of last year. I think it is doubtful that we will add any more as if we did they would need to be able to make a significant difference to what we have here already. Delaney we only have until January and then he might be off to America, I though he made a big difference at Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday. We now have bodies to cover for injuries.
Ward is excellent going forward buy perhaps lost a little of his positional discipline at Portsmouth, which we are working on. Blake is very solid and tough as nails.
The emphasis is much more on the squad now: Sat/Tues/Sat games are relentless and we paid for that last year with the Cup run too, and fell to pieces at the end of the season. That won’t happen again.
Q: What about the younger players?
A: De Silva has a hamstring injury at the moment so hasn’t featured. Curtis Fleming has done a lot of individual work with Aaron Martin; Dougie never bombs players out and we all train together and if a player works hard he will get a chance. Allassani is a great prospect and has every chance of making it.
It is more difficult for young defenders and keepers – you have to wait the longest for them to develop as they have to be able to deal with “beast” strikers: one example was Sodje at PNE – we did not cope with him.
Q: Tell us about Gabbidon?
A: I managed him before at Cardiff. He has a lot of experience and if we manage to get him on song he will be excellent for us.
Q: Is 4-2-3-1 here to stay?
A: A lot of teams play this way. We will continue to play this way, though perhaps slightly more defensively away from home. We have tried to evolve the style slightly without losing solidity but clearly at the start of the season with most of the defence new/injured it didn’t work. We are getting there now.
Q: Why did Scannell leave?
Sean is a great lad, but he was in and out of the team and never really established himself in a long run in the team. When a player is here for quite a while it is sometimes right for that player to move, as was the case with Darren Ambrose.
Q: How do you think we will do this year?
A: We won’t finish in the top three, but we want to be in touch with the play-offs come January and then take stock of where we are and see what happens from there.
Q: Have there been improvements in the training ground?
A: Yes Dougie has been very driven in that regard and got a lot of things upgraded and improved. He insists on the highest standards at the training ground. Gabbidon said it is the best facility he has been at. However we do need a bigger facility and that is why the new training ground would be brilliant.
Q: Tell us about your transfer policy?
A: The trick is to pick up the rough diamonds before bigger clubs sniff around and the price goes up. Ipswich had the chance to buy Nick Powell at Crewe when eh was younger but baulked at £750k, now he is sold for x million and plays for Ma Utd. Two summers ago we hesitated over paying £1m for Jordan Rhodes and now he has been sold to Blackburn for £8M.
Parr is a good example: I saw him just once and then we got him.
Q: How did you get the job at Palace?
A:I had never managed Dougie as a player, I could never afford him! In a way that was good as there was never any historical baggage. He contacted me on a Monday, we met on the Tuesday, and by Thursday I had signed.
Q: How did Dougie cope during our poor run?
A: very well. The fact that the fans have such a good relationship with the manager helped; I told him any other manager would have been under pressure, but not here due to the patience and understanding of the owners and the fans.