New QPR boss Ainsworth urges fans to ‘stick with us’ following debut defeat
Gareth Ainsworth has encouraged QPR supporters to keep the faith following a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Loftus Road in his first game as permanent manager.
A Rangers side ravaged by injuries was unfortunate to be behind at half-time courtesy of goals from Sam Gallagher and Sammie Szmodics either side of a Tim Iroegbunam equaliser.
However, Ainsworth’s new side barely laid a glove on play-off chasing Rovers after the break, and were condemned to defeat by a second Gallagher goal on the hour mark.
The new boss was convinced that he had seen enough to believe that a run of 12 games without a win can be ended in the coming weeks though.
“First half we showed exactly what I wanted to show,” he said. “The belief, the desire, the battling. I’m pleased with the turnaround from the boys after only two days of training with me.
“Unfortunately, it’s another defeat. We’ve got to make sure we stop this tide of defeats. We’ve got to try and change that momentum next week.”
Predecessor Neil Critchley’s record of just one win from 12 games in charge has seen QPR drop to 18th in the league table, and they now haven’t won at home since the end of October.
Supporters were still in a defiant mood when welcoming former club captain Ainsworth back to Loftus Road though and the former Wycombe Wanderers manager was appreciative of their support.
“These fans are passionate, they care about their football club so much,” he said. “I know how much it means to them. They’ll be disappointed, they’ll be down, they’ll be frustrated; I totally understand that after such a long wait for a win.
“I just want to say stick with us. I’ve got some good boys here and some great players back fit soon. I’m sure we’ll be super competitive soon.”
Ainsworth was without a host of first-team regulars including Ethan Laird, Chris Willock and Lyndon Dykes against boyhood club Blackburn, and injury woes were only compounded by a hamstring problem that forced Ilias Chair off after 30 minutes.
“Losing Ilias was a big blow,” said Ainsworth. “It took a whack out of the boys; he was looking really lively.
It’s a tough one to take. We’ll have to check him out on Monday.”
Despite a disappointing start to his tenure, Ainsworth was in no doubt that he is ready for the challenge ahead.
“With a team on a run like this one has been on, it’s tough,” he explained. “It’s my job to raise spirits and make sure the boys play with the intensity.
“I want them to be fearless and know what it takes to play for this football club.
“I’m only looking up at the moment. I want to see how many points we can get to try and catch teams above us. These last 12 games will come thick and fast, and I just want to make sure we are competitive in every single one.”