Hayes & Harlington Gazette
Ainsworth fails to inspire win on his return to the Hoops
GARETH Ainsworth backed QPR’s players despite their 3-1 loss at home to Blackburn in his first match as boss.
Former QPR winger Ainsworth, who took over from the sacked Neil Critchley this week, was given a hero’s reception by the home crowd.
However, it was a losing start to his reign and the west London side have now won just once in 19 matches – and are only eight points above the relegation zone.
However, Ainsworth said: “I’m pleased with the boys. After two days’ training with me, I saw plenty of stuff in there that I can work with.
“In the first half we showed exactly what I wanted them to show; the belief, desire and the battling.
“It showed today that there’s plenty of spirit and plenty to work with.
“But we were a bit deflated in the second half because Blackburn’s third goal put them out of sight and in control of the game.
“It’s my job now to raise these spirits and make sure the boys play with intensity and be fearless. They’re a great set of boys and gave me everything today and that’s what I asked of them.
“The main thing is that the boys took on board my message about belief, work-rate and what it means to play for QPR, which is what I wanted to see.
“I’m firmly of the belief that we can turn this around and get this club moving in the right direction again.
“I’d say to the fans: that win is coming, I’ve got some good boys in there and I’m sure we’re going to be super-competitive very shortly.”
After Sam Gallagher’s opener, Tim Iroegbunam equalised and
Rangers were well in the game, but playmaker Ilias Chair going off with a hamstring injury 10 minutes before the interval was a huge blow for Ainsworth’s side.
Sammie Szmodics then restored Rovers’ lead and Gallagher’s second goal of the match meant there was no way back for the hosts.
Ainsworth admitted: “Losing Ilias was a big blow. That took a whack out of the boys, it really did. He was looking very lively. That was a tough one to take.
“He’s been sensational for this club and the mental whack the boys took from losing one of the most influential players was hard.”
Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson was full of praise for his team after a third consecutive victory maintained their promotion push.
“I’m delighted with the result and I think we can all agree that we thoroughly deserved to win this game,” the Dane said.
“We scored three excellent goals and created more chances. We conceded an unnecessary goal but that was more or less the only shot they had on goal.
“We all know this is a tough stadium to come to and with a new manager there was a lot of energy there as well, so I’m delighted with the way the players coped with the situation.
“In the second half we controlled the game totally. We have a great spirit and togetherness in the squad and after a result like this there should be more confidence in the players.
“The players are in good shape and when they’re called up they’re ready to perform and they perform extremely well.
“Credit to the players for coping with the demands and intensity of this league.”