EFL

Marti Cifuentes: I’ll sleep pretty well after QPR win but job not done yet

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024

Marti Cifuentes said he would sleep soundly after QPR got the vital win they needed against Preston but warned his players not to ease up.

Lyndon Dykes’ first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory that takes Rangers to 50 points, six above the relegation zone with matches against Leeds and Coventry to finish the season.

Their superior goal difference means their Championship survival will be all but secured if second-bottom Sheffield Wednesday lose at Blackburn on Sunday.

Asked if he believes Saturday’s win will be enough to keep Rangers up, Cifuentes said: “I hope so. Right now it looks like a big step forward.

“But whatever happens in the next games, I think the kind of mindset – the winning culture we need in this club – means that we are going to try to keep winning until the end of the season.

“My mindset is that of course today we took a big step forward in the right direction but until the job is done it’s not done, so we need to make sure that we go into the last two games all-in.

“I’m going to sleep pretty well, that’s for sure. But until the job is done it’s not done.

“I’m very happy for the guys. It was a difficult game with a lot of pressure and we responded.

“We had to win this game. The focus was excellent and I’m very proud of the guys.”

Dykes’ goal was his first in 16 matches for QPR and only his fifth in the league this season.

The striker took advantage to tap into an empty net at the far post after Preston keeper Freddie Woodman spilled Chris Willock’s cross.

“I’m very happy for Lyndon. Today he had one of his best games of the season, if not the best,” Cifuentes said.

“He showed character and personality. Sometimes football is about passion and I think all the guys showed a lot of passion.

“We’ve been talking about the need for ugly goals and he was in the right place at the right time.”

Preston boss Ryan Lowe suggested his players would be hauled in for extra training after their poor performance.

“It wasn’t good enough. Nowhere near the levels,” Lowe said.

“I know it’s a mistake for the goal, but we’ve got to do better all-round, with and without the ball. I didn’t recognise that team as a Preston North End team.

“Back to the drawing board, two games to go, and I don’t want the season to just peter out.

“We felt that today was a game that we could compete in and win. We competed to an extent, but the quality on show from both teams wasn’t great. I expect my team to be better.

“We didn’t sustain attacks, didn’t look after the ball and it wasn’t a performance I felt could win a game of football and I said that to the players.

“They expected to take a few extra days this week but we’ll be back in, back at the training ground working hard, because we’ve got two important games left.

“We’ve got to be solid and resolute – back to being us. Back to being what’s got us this far. We were nowhere near today.”

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    Victor Davila will be hoping to rediscover the goal-scoring touch he experienced before the Copa America ahead of coming up against the World Cup champions. 

    Having scored three goals and provided one assist in his previous three international appearances heading into their opener against Peru, the CSKA Moscow striker showed glimpses of his attacking threat. 

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    However, Messi will be hoping to add to his 108 international goals at the MetLife Stadium. Should he score, it would take his Copa America tally to 14, level with Chile's Eduardo Vargas and Peru's Paolo Guerrero, three away from equalling Norberto Mendez's record (17). 

     

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARGENTINA WIN 

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    La Albiceleste remain unbeaten against Chile in these encounters (21 wins, eight draws). However, La Roja clinched their two titles by defeating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the 2015 and 2016 finals.

    Since 2011, Argentina have the fewest losses (two) among teams that have played in more than one Copa America edition. La Albiceleste also boasts the most victories in the tournament during this period (18).

    Chile, however, will be looking to upset the odds. La Roja are looking for their first win in games between the two teams since June 2016. During that time, Argentina have outscored the Chilean side 7-4, something that will need to change to increase their chances of progression. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Chile - 15.1%

    Argentina - 66.5%

    Draw - 18.4%

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