EFL

Marti Cifuentes urges QPR players to keep their heads in survival battle

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

Manager Marti Cifuentes called for cool heads after QPR suffered a damaging 3-0 defeat at Hull.

Rangers are three points clear of the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone and were outclassed by the Tigers, who still have a slim chance of making the play-offs.

Goals from Ozan Tufan and Fabio Carvalho earned Hull a deserved lead at the break, after which Jaden Philogene added gloss to the scoreline in the second half.

Cifuentes said: “I was really disappointed with the result. We played against a very good team and they showed their quality after we made a good start to the game.

“I am now not thinking about the narrative of this game – now it is time to move on.

“Now is the time to stay calm. We have three games to go – two of them at home – so it is up to us.

“I have been saying it (safety) could be (decided) until the last minute of the season.

“Five months ago, perhaps even one month ago, we could only dream (to be 19th in the table).

“People thought this would be a walk in the park but that is not the case.

“It’s up to us. We need to remain together and keep pushing.”

QPR’s away form has been strong since Cifuentes arrived at the club, but they were unable to match Hull’s tempo from the outset.

Tufan’s brilliant strike from distance after eight minutes set the tone of a one-sided game.

The Turkey international’s smart assist after then allowed Carvalho the chance to convert a smart one-on-one – and essentially put the game out of sight after 27 minutes.

Rangers improved marginally after the restart but they could never lay a glove on the hosts and conceded a third when Philogene executed a perfect half-volley from the left of the penalty area.

Cifuentes said: “The main difference was that, in some moments, they were better than us in front of goal.

“We have three games to go, and we have to keep working.

“Despite creating a lot of chances, we are not scoring and, instead, we are getting punished because of small mistakes.

“The guys have showed a big development in the last four months.

“I see a team still competing and not giving up, even when we were 3-0 down.

“We now have an important game against Preston next Saturday and it is time to move on.”

Hull’s home form has been the big issue this season – they have won just eight times at the MKM Stadium – but they are six points adrift of sixth-placed Norwich with a game in hand.

Head coach Liam Rosenior said: “Our performance level was not dissimilar to Middlesbrough (a 1-1 draw on Wednesday).

“But the difference was in both boxes. We were clinical and ruthless and the players showed their quality.

“We dominated the game, controlled the game – some of our football was excellent.

“That’s what I’ve been working so hard to do since I re-joined the cub.

“We were very, very good. If we play at the level for the next four games we are going to be a very, very difficult side to play against.”

Rosenior added: “Some of our interlinking play now is a joy to watch.

“The players I have in the attacking positions are in form and that needs to continue.

“There are still things to iron out – we still need things to improve – but we’ve got to win the next game.

“That’s all we are focussed on doing. We’re in a good place. We have to focus on what we can do.

“We just need to make sure that if there are any slip-ups, we are there to pounce.”

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