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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Further Reports and Comments re QPR's Birmingham's Triumph


- The obvious questions: Should Ainsworth be appointed QPR Manager (First Team Coach)? Will he be? And should the Chairman be "involved" in team selection?Offer your opinion on this or anything else QPR Report Messageboard

Damiano Tomassi failed to hide his delight at the final whistle last night, as the Italian midfielder marked his full home debut with a man-of-the-match display against in-form Birmingham City.
Samuel Di Carmine's second half strike inevitably grabbed the headlines, but after the controversial dismissal of Mikele Leigertwood on the stroke of half-time, Tomassi was the shining light in the R's midfield during the second period, cleverly breaking up play and keeping possession intelligently, as the R's held on for a vital three points.
"I said to Gareth that I would wait for my opportunity," Tomassi told www.qpr.co.uk.
"When I arrived here I needed to get match fit, but I've worked hard for a month or so and I was delighted to play my part in a very important and deserved win.
"I enjoyed every minute of the match. I feel very proud to have played for QPR."
As the R's players rejoiced at the final whistle, Tomassi's contribution for the only goal of the game was almost overlooked.
For the record, however, it was his short, sharp pass that was latched on to by his fellow countryman, Di Carmine, who sent a stunning 25-yard drive beyond the out-stretched arm of Blues custodian Maik Taylor.
Typically, Tomassi chose to praise the goalscorer and his fellow team-mates, instead of highlighting his own important role in the goal.
"Sami finished it really well," he said.
"I played the pass, which is nice, but every time you score a goal it is the work of the team."
Tomassi added: "Every time you play 11 versus 10, each and every player needs to step up a level and we did that.
"It was a good effort against a team at the top of the division and I'm really pleased."
R's Caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth reserved special praise for the Italian, commenting: "I thought Tomassi was brilliant.
"He warmed up on Saturday late on but didn't get on. Then he said to me, 'Gaz, I will be ready when you need me.' "He was everything I expected him to be - he is a great asset to QPR." QPR Official Site

The Sun
HANDS-ON Flavio Briatore helped knock Birmingham off top spot in the Championship.
The flamboyant QPR owner shouted instructions from the directors’ box down to caretaker-boss Gareth Ainsworth as 10-man Rangers stunned Brum.

- And it was Briatore’s signing Samuel Di Carmine who hit a superb winner on 54 minutes.
- Briatore sacked Iain Dowie last week because the manager would not accept interference from the Italian in team selection.
- Yet Ainsworth seems quite happy to pick the side by committee
- Di Carmine, who is on loan from Fiorentina, was restored to the line-up for Saturday’s impressive 0-0 draw at Reading — replacing R’s top-scorer Dexter Blackstock.
- And his 25-yard thunderbolt to seal the three points last night suggested Renault bigwig Briatore knows his football as well as his Formula One.
- Yet Ainsworth insisted he is still the man in control. He said: “Flavio puts his case for players forward and I put mine forward and I am happy to be in those meetings.
- “But I have the final say on who goes on the pitch and what goes on during the game.
- “I have been given no indication if I am in the running for the job or not but however long I am in charge of QPR then I’ll give it everything.”
- Di Carmine’s thunderbolt from Damiano Tommasi’s pass came nine minutes into the second half.
- The R’s were already a man down by this stage after Mikele Leigertwood had seen red for a foul on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half-time.
- And Ainsworth added: “I told the players I believe in them and I believed we could win the game — even with 10 men. I kept playing two up front even when we were a man down.
“I thought Tommasi was brilliant. He was everything I expected him to be — he is a great asset to QPR.
“Samuel’s goal was fantastic too. Every single player has given me 100 per cent since I have been in charge and that is all I ask for
- QPR keeper Radek Cerny made two early saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
But Brum struggled against 10 men. After going behind, their best chance of a leveller fell to Phillips but Gavin Mahon blocked his effort on the line.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish said: “The performance was a big disappointment.
“I can take a defeat but I can’t accept a poor performance.
“You could see the QPR players were all fighting for Gareth.” The Sun

Telegraph/Sam Green - Samuel Di Carmine at home with Flavio Briatore at Queens Park Rangers
- Perhaps Flavio Briatore does know a thing or two about football after all. Four days after Iain Dowie was forced out at Queens Park Rangers, allegedly because he did not appreciate his chairman's involvement in team affairs, two of the players the Renault Formula One team boss brought to Loftus Road combined to knock Birmingham City off the top of the Championship.
- Former Italian international Damiano Tommasi, who was impressive throughout, set up Samuel Di Carmine for his first goal for QPR, a second-half strike that allowed Wolves to replace Birmingham at the summit.
- It was all the more remarkable because Rangers played the second half with 10 men and this result greatly strengthens the hand of caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth.
- Afterwards Ainsworth confirmed his ambition to go into management but said he had been given no indication about his future from Briatore.
- On the question of who was responsible for team selection, he sent mixed messages. Asked if it was him, Ainsworth said: "They want to know what is going on and I'm happy to be in those meetings."

- So who would pick the team for Saturday's trip to Ipswich? "There will be discussions with parties and I will put my case forward and the final say is mine on the pitch," Ainsworth said.
- QPR's starting line-up here included a number of players Briatore is understood to have signed, with midfielder Tommasi making his debut and another of Briatore's Italian compatriots, striker Di Carmine, making his first home league start.
- The game was also notable for being the first back in the Championship for referee Stuart Atwell since his infamous 'ghost goal' blunder at Watford.
- Birmingham, who arrived unbeaten in six with no away defeats this season, threatened early on, Radek Cerny down well to save from Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
- In first-half stoppage time Mikele Leigertwood was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Lee Carsley and Atwell was plunged back into controversy, the whistle greeted by a piercing chorus of boos and furious complaints from the home players and Ainsworth.
- But anger became joy nine minutes after the restart, when Tommasi's short, sharp pass found Di Carmine, who thundered his shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
- Kevin Phillips thought he had equalised at the last, but it was ruled out for outside, leaving Birmingham manager Alex McLeish downcast. "We had too many players off the boil," he said. Telegraph

Daily Mail/Ian Gibb - Ainsworth rocks - stand-in manager is a hit
- Gareth Ainsworth, wannabe rock guitarist, will have to take off the rock and roll shoes - he might just be very good indeed at the management business.
The QPR caretaker boss, flung into the hot seat after Iain Dowie's sacking, toppled Birmingham from the Championship pinnacle with 10 men - just three days after stopping the Reading home juggernaut in its tracks with a brave away draw.
- It may be that QPR's Italian co-owner Flavio Briatore is having more of a selection say than is healthy - but there's now denying that it's Ainsworth who is getting them going once they get on the pitch. His first programme notes ended with the word "let's get this place rocking". His brave men certainly did that.
Despite the dismissal of Mikele Leigertwood for a studs-up challenge on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half-time, Ainsworth sent them back out inspired and Samuel Di Carmine let rip from 25 yards into the top-left corner of the net for the 54th-minute winner. It was only his second start and came after outstanding work by midfield debutant Damiano Tommasi.
- Though Kevin Phillips netted for Birmingham in time added on, it was disallowed for offside by controversial referee Stuart Attwell. He, of course, was the man who awarded the phantom goal for Reading at Watford in September and he had the Rangers fans howling with his red card.
- A delighted Ainsworth, who still doesn't know whether he will get the permanent managers job: 'I didn't think I could beat the flush of emotion that went through the body on Saturday - but I did it tonight.
'Those boys were outstanding and the commitment they showed was the reason we won. I said to all the boys at half-time: 'I believe in you and I believe we can go and win this game.'
- 'We have something going here where everybody is pulling tight together and backing each other. I kept two upfront even with 10 men because I believed we would score. Then I quickly changed it when we did! I'm very proud of every player - not only the ones that played but the ones we left out on the night.
'Tomassi was everything I expected. He warmed up on Saturday late on but didn't get on. Then he said to me: 'Gaz, I will be ready when you need me'.'
Ainsworth had the cool head to get his players to calm down as they came off at half-time, though Tomassi and Lee Cook were booked for protest. The caretaker boss added: 'I told the referee I didn't think it was a red and he said 'Gareth, get off the pitch'.'
Ainsworth also indicated that Briatore is having a selection input, with Tomassi starting and Emmanuel Ledesma coming back in. And to retain Di Carmine worked brilliantly with his spectacular win.
Ainsworth explained: 'Others do have an input but I get the final say so.
A bitterly disappointed Birmingham boss Alex McLeish got it absolutely right when he said: 'I'm disappointed we didn't put more pressure on 10 men - but they had a bit of a cause after that, no doubt about it.'
McLeish lost striker Garry O'Connor in the warm-up and then QPR keeper Radek Cerny made excellent early saves from Cameron Jerome and Phillips.
- But this was Ainsworth's night and QPR could do a lot worse than throw him the job. He's on a roll. Mail

The Mirror/Lee Reynolds - GLORY IS ALL MINE
- Sam comes in from the cold as City high-fliers are sunk QPR 1 Birmingham C 0
- Whoever's picking the team at Loftus Road, they are not doing a bad job.
- In the five days since Iain Dowie's departure over Flavio Briatore's interference in team affairs, caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth and his side - chosen by committee - have blunted Reading's sharpshooters and beaten high-flying Birmingham.
- Not bad for a side in crisis - especially as the wonder goal that gave Ainsworth his first taste of victory as a manager came from the man who apparently cost his predecessor his job.
- It was Samuel Di Carmine, Briatore's favourite who Dowie wouldn't play, who turned and arrowed a shot past Maik Taylor after 54 minutes.
- The win was made all the more remarkable given that the hosts were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half time when Mikele Leigertwood was sent off for a high tackle on Lee Carsley.
- It was a harsh decision and one that earned referee Stuart Attwell a blast from Ainsworth as he left the pitch at half time. Ainsworth said: "I thought it looked very harsh but I'll have to learn to keep my head in those situations.
- "I said to him that it wasn't a red and he just told me to leave the pitch. We didn't get a lot of favours after that, either.
- But everyone pulled tight together - that's the spirit we've got at the club."
- The hosts had made a shaky start, keeper Radek Cerny producing two saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips in the space of a minute.
- After that, QPR were well on top.
Emmanuel Ledesma had a good penalty shout turned down when his header appeared to hit Liam Ridgewell's hand and Dexter Blackstock almost touched Lee Cook's low cross past Taylor. It looked like Attwell's harsh decision would undo all their good work, but after Di Carmine's strike the promotion favourites barely threatened.
- Phillips had a late goal ruled out for offside, but QPR were comfortable - apart from having to endure a snowstorm late on.
But Ainsworth revealed he is no closer to knowing whether his impressive start in management will see him handed the job permanently, adding: "There have been no talks, but I'm proud to be caretaker and I'd love to be in charge on Saturday.
- "Of course I've got a taste for it - that's why I wanted to become reserve team manager, because I've got ambition
. The Mirror

- For additional reports and comments -See also: Ainsworth post-match comments and other QPR-Birmingham Match Reports - And the The two Official Sites Match reports

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