QPR boss backs Begovic after keeper’s latest error

Marti Cifuentes has backed Asmir Begovic after another error by the QPR keeper.

Begovic has made a number of mistakes this season and the veteran was at fault for Middlesbrough’s second goal in their 2-0 win at Loftus Road, failing to stop Marcus Forss scoring with a far-post header.

Asked about Begovic’s performances, boss Cifuentes said: “I’m not here just to judge individually my players. I trust them.

“In this case, if you ask me about Asmir, his career speaks for itself and the quality he has.

“If you ask me if I want Asmir in a team that is fighting to avoid relegation I will 100% say that I always want him in my team. The experience and leadership he has says everything.”

Cifuentes remains “convinced” the club will avoid relegation despite their recent resurgence being ended.

Rangers, unbeaten in their previous four matches – which included a win at leaders Leicester and Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom – faded in the second half.

“Trust me I don’t need a defeat to have a reality check. It’s a really difficult situation,” Cifuentes said.

“I’m convinced that we’re going to manage to reach the target, but if anyone thought it was easy they were making a big mistake.

“I’m not a magician. I’m here to help. But to expect we’re going to win every game is delusional. It’s going to be tough. But there are 10 games left and I am sure that we are going to reach our target.

A win would have been a massive boost for Rangers in their battle to stay up. But after being the better team for much of the first half, they ran out of ideas – and energy – after the interval.

Cifuentes made a triple substitution 10 minutes into the second half, bringing on forwards Lyndon Dykes and Paul Smyth along with on-loan Newcastle midfielder Issac Hayden. Ilias Chair was among those taken off.

Cifuentes said: “We managed to create some good chances in the first half. In the second, we wanted to introduce a bit more energy in a moment when the game was turning. It turned a bit, but it was not good enough.

“Ilias looked tired. In my eyes he’s one of the best players in the league and when he’s not making the difference and being as good as he can be then I’m very demanding with him.

“So that was the reason. We thought that some fresh legs would help and we had to take some decisions.

“We have a sad feeling because it’s true that we had big expectations about this game and we didn’t perform – not even close to the last game.

“We had a very demanding game on Wednesday, emotionally and physically, and Middlesbrough played 60 minutes against 10 men against Norwich, so perhaps that’s one of the reasons they looked more energetic in the second half.

“It’s very demanding when you have three games in just a few days and especially when you have Leicester away and West Brom, which were very demanding.”