Marti Cifuentes confident QPR have the spirit to escape relegation battle



Posted Sunday, February 18, 2024 by PA

Marti Cifuentes confident QPR have the spirit to escape relegation battle

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes praised a quality goal and an impressive performance after his team boosted their Championship survival hopes with a deserved 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers.

Ilias Chair’s cool finish, passing the ball into the net from Lucas Andersen’s 42nd-minute cross, was enough to lift the visitors to within one point of fourth-from-bottom Millwall.

The visitors defended their lead with organisation and tenacity in the second half, showing the sort of character they will need to escape the drop.

And a delighted Cifuentes said: “I know we have the necessary spirit to move up the table and it was evident today.

“Our goal came from two quality players combining. Ilias Chair is already a top player for us, but I have told him he has the ability to do even greater things.

“Lucas Andersen also has a lot of quality and it was good to see them working together to create the chance.

“But every member of the team deserved credit for a tremendous performance against very good opponents.

“Bristol (City) had beaten Southampton in the week and we knew how tough it would be to come here and win.

“We worked on certain things to combat their strengths and it was important we bounced back quickly from a poor performance against Stoke.

“It sums up the Championship that Bristol (City) were so good in midweek and yet we were able to restrict them to very few chances today.

“What’s so difficult is to put together consistent performances and results. That is what we must be aiming for in our remaining games.

“Today we have been very good, but being like that for one game is not enough.”

City head coach Liam Manning admitted it was a rare off-day for his team, who have been closing in on the play-off positions.

“From the start, we never got going,” he said. “Collectively – and that includes me with the changes I made – we were not good enough.

“It has been a really hectic schedule since Christmas and perhaps that showed physically and mentally today.

“It’s not an excuse because top teams like Manchester City cope with tough programmes. But they have some of the best players in the world.

“We will give our lads tomorrow and Monday off because I think a short rest will do them good.

“Then it will be back to prepare for our next game. We knew we would have to cope with expectation levels today after our win against Southampton.

“Queens Park Rangers are a better side than their league position suggests. I watched them and was aware that we would be in for a very tough game.

“The players are as frustrated as myself because we can be so much better. But they are an honest group and I have nothing but praise for their efforts in recent weeks.”

City lost young striker Sam Bell with a hamstring injury after only 22 minutes and Manning added: “We won’t be sure how serious it is until we get a scan, but obviously it didn’t look good.”

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