Ainsworth admits ‘dark nights’ after QPR stay up

Gareth Ainsworth believes a change of approach after a disastrous run of results was the key to keeping QPR in the Championship.

Ainsworth, Rangers’ third boss of a troubled season, presided over an awful start to his reign and the club looked to be heading into the third tier.

But the 1-0 victory at Stoke, where Albert Adomah scored the winner, ended their relegation fears with a match to spare.

Rangers were recently on the brink of falling into the bottom three.

But back-to-back wins have lifted them clear of danger and Ainsworth’s side have now lost just one of their past five matches.

“I’ve been here eight weeks and the first three weren’t pretty – it wasn’t good,” Ainsworth said.

“I tried to bring a new energy, a new training regime, a new tactical approach to games.

“They grasped it sometimes and didn’t grasp it sometimes, so I really had to strip it down, look at goals we were conceding, why we conceding them, try and change that and think about what’s the best way to play.

“The last two away performances – Burnley and Stoke – on the counter-attack, the lads were magnificent. Every single one of them deserves credit. They’ve been brilliant.

“The turning point was probably about four weeks ago. I realised probably that what I was trying to put in place they weren’t really grasping.

“As a manager you’ve got to change – you don’t stay pigheaded and go ‘my way or no way’. You’ve got to change and got to adapt and, with the players you’ve got, find a way that suits them and still has my stamp on it.

“I’m proud that I adapted. I think one of my strengths is adapting. But the boys and my staff deserve the credit.”

Rangers were in serious trouble after a 3-0 defeat at home to Coventry, but responded by taking seven points from the next available nine – including a shock win away to champions Burnley.

Ainsworth admitted: “I had some dark nights, believe me. I had some pretty tough nights.

“After the Coventry game – wow, I was in a tough place, I really was. Tougher than I’ve ever been in football management.

“That was a time to rethink and again go on in and be energetic with the boys, be positive, because that’s the way it should be.

“Picking yourself up, being consistent and being me is just my way, and I’m proud to do that.”

Ainsworth also praised director of football Les Ferdinand and chief executive Lee Hoos, who have faced criticism from fans.

He said: “This club isn’t out of the woods with everything. It still needs a bit of a reset and we’re going to do that.

“But I would like to say as well that there’s a couple of people that do get a bit of stick, Les Ferdinand and Lee Hoos.

“They’ve been nothing but supportive of me since I walked in the building – nothing but supportive.

“I want to thank them for putting their trust in me, and to thank the players for being just superb for me in the last few weeks.”