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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Swansea's Perspective -"QPR are very different opposition to Ipswich, who are purists, who love to play football ...They are Physically Strong"

Western Mail/Simon Kendal-Williams - Martinez hoping to cash in against Rangers rich kids
THE Coca-Cola Championship’s rich kids roll into Swansea tonight – but Queen’s Park Rangers’ new-found wealth does not impress Roberto Martinez.
It is almost a year since Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Renault F1 owner Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s fourth richest man, took control of the West London club.
Surprisingly, the Hoops have been reluctant to splash the cash so far, with no high-profile signings finding their way to Loftus Road.
Nevertheless, with a kitty to rival that of neighbours Chelsea, the potential is there to achieve Briatore’s aim of Premier League football by 2011.
But don’t expect Swansea City boss Martinez to be casting envious glances in the direction of opposite number Iain Dowie at the Liberty Stadium tonight.
“If you ask any manager, of course you would prefer to have high expectations and their money, rather than having a lack of funds and lack of expectations,” he said.
“But I’m not envious at all. I’m delighted with the players I’ve got.
“When you work with these players on a daily basis, it makes you feel very, very proud.
“Feeling like that allows you not to envy anyone. And, anyway, sometimes expectations can work for and against you.
“I’m sure there will be times when the pressure might get too much, but you may also find there are times when teams go there and freeze.”
The Swans picked up a useful point at Ipswich in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw to make it seven points from nine after wins over promotion aspirants Wolves and Preston.
There would have been few complaints if they had returned with all three points, but whereas Swansea were able to play their usual free-flowing game at Portman Road, Martinez anticipates a more physical game tonight.
QPR are very different opposition to Ipswich, who are purists, who love to play football and allowed us to be ourselves,” said the Spaniard.
They are physically strong and they will come here for the three points, they won’t just sit back and defend like a lot of other teams do here.
“They play exactly the same everywhere they go. I watched them at St Andrews against Birmingham.

“They don’t concede cheaply and we’ll have to be on top of our game if we want to get anything out of it.
“We need to show that we are multi-dimensional and can compete with anybody.
“It’s a great test for us. QPR are one of the big-hitters at Championship level for many reasons – the experience of the manager, the ability of the players as well as the financial muscle at the club now.
“The direction of QPR is clearly the Premiership, how long they will take to get there we don’t know.”
The Swans lie comfortably in 11th place in the Championship, just one point off the play-off places, while QPR moved up to seventh after a 2-1 win over bottom side Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Buoyed by their first win in five attempts, the Hoops will be looking to inflict a first home defeat on the Swans this season.
But Martinez is looking beyond his team’s unbeaten record at the Liberty Stadium.
“We just want to carry on where we left off at Ipswich – we don’t play for statistics,” he said. “We play for ourselves, and what’s important is that we get stronger every game.
“I have to say, though, that the fans have played a huge part in that run. The noise they make around the stadium is a huge strength for us, it’s unique.
“And if we can replicate the atmosphere we had against Wolves, it will give us that extra yard, that extra advantage, whoever we are playing. We need to make sure we use that.”
Martinez might spare a thought for Dowie in the build-up to the game.
The Rangers boss may have steered his side into play-off contention since taking over from Luigi De Canio last season, but there remains the feeling at Loftus Road that the board would prefer a “sexier” name than the former West Ham and Crystal Palace manager.
But QPR midfielder Akos Buzsaky has leapt to Dowie’s defence in making an unlikely comparison with one of his former bosses.
“Iain Dowie is as good as managing his players as Jose Mourinho,” said Buzsaky, who played under the ‘Special One’ at Porto in Portugal.
“Each manager has different strengths and ideas, but they are both similar in that Iain defends us all the time.
“Even if we have a bad game, he sticks up for us.
“That is important because it means the dressing room is a secure place where we know we are all fighting for each other. He is doing a great job.”
Martinez may be tempted to recall Jason Scotland to the starting line-up tonight.
The Trinidad & Tobago striker looked sharp when coming off the bench at Ipswich on his return from international duty.
And with Gorka Pintado looking out of sorts as a lone frontman at Portman Road, Martinez may find it difficult to overlook Scotland.
“Jason had a good week at international level and looked really strong when he came on against Ipswich,” said Martinez.
“His magic is why people pay money to watch football – that is something special. But alongside him, we have a lot of talent in that dressing room.
“The squad have all worked incredibly hard to get fit for a run of games in a short space of time. Everyone wants to play their part, which makes a healthy atmosphere in the dressing room.”
Midfielder Andrea Orlandi is rated as 50-50, while winger Tom Butler could again make the bench as he works his way back to fitness.
“We’re going to assess Orlandi in training,” said Martinez. “The same goes for Butler as he has been struggling with his groin.
“He came on against Ipswich, but we’ve got to see if there was any reaction. Apart from that, everyone is 100 per cent fit and available.” Wales online

Evening Post - Britton: Swans won't suffer any inferiority complex
QUEENS Park Rangers are richer than Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester United, but Leon Britton insists there will be no inferiority complex for Swansea City tonight.
Rangers have rocketed to the top of the money lists thanks to the arrival of Bernie Ecclestone (worth £2.5billion), Flavio Briatore (£110m) and Lakshmi Mittal (£19bn) in the Loftus Road boardroom.
Yet the West Londoners' extraordinary wealth has yet to translate to spectacular success on the pitch.
"Their fans must be excited," says Britton. "They have been in the Championship for a while now and they'll all be thinking about getting back into the Premier League.
"But we won't fear them tonight just because of their billionaires.
"We've played teams already this season who have bigger budgets and bigger fanbases than ours, but on the pitch we have pretty much matched them all.
"Having all that cash can be a burden. When there's money to spend, people can expect results straightaway."
That is exactly the scenario at QPR just now, where Iain Dowie is said to be fighting for his job despite the fact that his team lie a healthy seventh in the early Championship table.
With Terry Venables being touted as a possible successor, former Crystal Palace manager Dowie chalked up a much-needed first win in five league outings against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
"When quality players here miss passes by the smallest distance, there's anxiety all round the place," moaned assistant boss Tim Flowers after the Forest win.
"I can't understand that anxiety."
Rangers started the season in form, winning four and losing only one of their first six league games.
But defeats to Coventry, Derby and Birmingham plus a home draw with Blackpool saw the pressure mounting before the bottom club were beaten.
Dowie might point out that despite the greater expectations triggered by Rangers' wealth, he did not spend anything on transfer fees during the close season.
Critics would highlight the big bucks spent on the likes of Fitz Hall, Rowan Vine and Patrick Agyemang back in January, plus the fact that the club's wage bill isn't small.
Midfielder Akos Buzsaky, another who joined for big money last season, has defended Dowie this week.
"I think we've made a step forward this year but other teams are now prepared for us," said the Hungarian.
"Last season we were bottom of the league and other teams didn't think we were very good.
"Now they know we are one of the division's best sides." This is South Wales

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