Ainsworth takes blame for QPR’s Blackpool battering

QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth says he has to take full responsibility for his side’s 6-1 humiliation at Blackpool on Tuesday.

Rangers produced one of the worst performances in their recent history as they slumped to their largest defeat since going down 7-1 to West Brom in 2018, as a Blackpool side who had won just once since October, and sit in the bottom three, ran riot at Bloomfield Road.

Ainsworth kept faith with the line-up that beat Watford 1-0 on Saturday, despite many of the players appearing to be physically spent at the final whistle. Blackpool manager Mick McCarthy made wholesale changes for the game.

However, with Ilias Chair, Chris Willock, Kenneth Paal, Leon Balogun, Jake Clarke-Salter and Ethan Laird still unavailable, Ainsworth said that was something he was unable to do.

“Blackpool made eight or nine changes, but I couldn’t do that – I don’t have enough fit players,” Ainsworth said.

“When everyone is fit I’m sure I can work the rotation really well. But every person who was fit, apart from Elijah Dixon-Bonner who wasn’t in the squad, played.

“I have had to give Aaron Drewe his debut and had to pull on the academy products already to make the team. It’s really tough for me at the moment and to make eight changes at the moment is impossible.

“Of course going forward, the way that I play and the energy I demand is going to be big so there may have to be rotations. But my hands are tied at the moment.”

Luke Amos and Stefan Johansen were both named on the bench on Tuesday, but Ainsworth defended his decision not to select them.

He said: “Luke has only just come back from injury and we’ve seen him just dropped in and out in games and we have to be careful with Luke as we can’t have a recurrence.

“He has been modified in training just because we have to look after him. So to ask him to go 90 minutes would be a real tough ask.

“Stefan was a tactical one. I thought Andre Dozzell did really well against Watford and I wanted to reward him with the shirt.

“I will protect these boys. I am there for them and have their backs. I’ll never hang them out in public, ever.

“They know as a team they weren’t good enough and I am allowed to say that.

“But as a manager I wasn’t good enough. I got beat 6-1, so together we lost that game.

“I will take the flak for that. Did I not change the team when I should have, did we not work on set-pieces enough? That all rests with me.”