Ainsworth praises QPR youngsters after cup defeat

Gareth Ainsworth was encouraged by the performances of QPR’s young players in the Carabao Cup defeat against Norwich.

Jonathan Rowe’s goal in the final seconds sent Rangers out of the tournament.

Both managers made several changes and Ainsworth brought on academy products Alex Aoraha and Rayan Kolli in the second half for their senior debuts.

Ainsworth said: “I got what I needed tonight and that was seeing the commitment and the standard of the players that haven’t been playing.

“We had players on the pitch from the academy during the game and two debutants at the end who are playing against players who have been sold for millions.

“So I’m really proud of the boys, but it is gutting to lose the goal at the end. The boys didn’t deserve that. Gutted but very proud.

“It’s cruel but it’s a lesson for some of our young boys and the future looks quite rosy here.”

One of the senior players Ainsworth included, striker Lyndon Dykes, limped off in the second half after appearing to pick up a knee injury just moments before he was going to be substituted.

That will be a concern for the Rangers boss given his current lack of attacking options.

“He slipped after he was tackled and I think he injured himself in the slip. I’m sure I’ll find out tomorrow what the score is,” Ainsworth said.

“It’s difficult because you try and change up a lot for these (cup games) but you don’t want to not try to get through to the next round.

“I wanted to be competitive tonight, so playing three or four from Saturday was important.

“Unfortunately, Lyndon had to come off about a minute earlier than he was planned to come off, which is sod’s law.

“But we’ll deal with it. If he does miss the next game I’ve got choices to put in. We’ve got one or two good options if Lyndon’s not available.”