Ainsworth backs QPR players despite defeat

Gareth Ainsworth made a losing start to his QPR reign (Picture: Ian Randall Photography)

Gareth Ainsworth backed QPR’s players despite their 3-1 loss at home to Blackburn in his first match as boss.

Former R’s winger Ainsworth, who took over from the sacked Neil Critchley this week, was given a hero’s reception by the home crowd.

But it was a losing start to his reign and Rangers have now won just once in 19 matches – and are only eight points above the relegation zone.

However, Ainsworth insisted: “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.”