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Adkins: I was right to leave Lambert on bench
12:24pm Thursday 17th January 2013 in Sport
Saints fought back from 2-0 down at half time to gain a memorable point at Stamford Bridge and climb above Newcastle to 15th in the Premier League table.
Adkins, pictured left, raised eyebrows when he left out the talismanic Lambert, as well as Gaston Ramirez, from his starting line up at Chelsea.
But Saints hung in the game and Lambert had the dream impact off the bench, scoring just three minutes and five seconds after coming on.
Jason Puncheon netted a fantastic leveller to make it a great evening for Saints in west London.
“We came with a game plan to get something from the game,” said Adkins.
“We know that Chelsea are a good side, they beat us ten days ago, and we know if we open up the spaces for them to play between the lines they have players who are going to hurt you.
“We have come with a game plan to be compact, to intercept, and to go and counter attack and to frustrate the opposition.
“In the first half that was the objective.
“It’s a big call to leave Rickie Lambert out at any time but we knew the impact was there and we wanted to make sure we were still in the game and to go from there.
“The two goals that we conceded, especially the one at half time, we had opportunities to clear the ball and we haven’t done and we were punished.
“We played Chelsea last time and they scored bang on half time then to go 2-1 up and went on to dominate the second half.
“This time we stuck with the game plan when we could have gone gung-ho to try and get back in.
“There was the impact off the bench with Rickie Lambert coming off the bench to score the goal and what a fantastic second goal where Luke Shaw has driven on on the counter attack and a fantastic finish from Jason Puncheon.
“It was 2-2 and we have come away from home with just two defeats in the last 12 games and both of those were 1-0 so it just shows how we have been improving all the time.”
He added: “I said to the players at half time we need to stay in the game because 2-0 is always a dangerous scoreline to defend – if you get one you’re back in it.
“If you go too expansive too early they go three and the game is well beyond you.
“We came with a game plan to be compact.
“At 2-0 them scoring at a bad time we could have chased it and played two up front and there was every chance we could have ended up on a scoreline like maybe Aston Villa did when they got done by eight.
“We believed the game plan was the right thing to do so we stuck at it.
“Not many teams are going to come back from 2-0 down against Chelsea.”