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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Victory! QPR Get That Long-Awaited, Much-Anticipated, Greatly-Appreciated Win - Reports and Comments of QPR's Swansea Success

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QPR 1 Swansea 0

Sousa's Post-Match Comments/Official Site - QPR Official Site TACTICAL PERFECTION
- Paulo Sousa hailed each and every one on his players as the R's registered a timely 1-0 victory against Swansea City.
- Playing in an effective 4-1-4-1 formation, Mikele Leigertwood handed Rangers all three points with a stunning first half header, to the delight of the R's boss.
- "Tactically, we were perfect tonight, because each and every player did their jobs to a very high standard.
- "We've had a lot of critics and a lot of adversities with injuries - but we showed tonight that if you believe, you will succeed.
- "We showed great unity this evening and that is what is required against a side like Swansea, who - as I've said from my first week in the job - play the best football in the division.
- "It is an important victory - and a very pleasing one given the way we played."
- The victory - Rangers' first in 10 outings - lifted the R's on to 53 points, prompting Sousa to add: "It is not relief tonight, because I have great confidence in what I am trying to achieve here.
- "I believe in my work and my players and as I have said before, with every player fit, we are a very, very good side." QPR

BBC - Managerial Comments - QPR manager Paulo Sousa:
- "We have had a lot of critics from outside and a lot of adversities but we are a team with a lot of unity, who were trying to get three points against the best football team.
- "They are not easy to beat - you have to be very good to beat a team like Swansea.
- "We have nine or 10 players injured, but I keep believing in what we can achieve with hard work."
Swansea manager Roberto Martinez:
- "It was disappointing not to get the result we were looking for.
- "We lost to a soft goal from a set-piece, and to lose in that way hurts.
- "The boys showed the right reaction in the second half, and we deserved to get something out of the game.
- "Overall, I don't think anyone deserved to win the game. A draw would have been a fair result, but Rangers took advantage of one set-piece." BBC

SKY SPORT - Sousa delighted with win
Sousa pleased while Martinez thought his side deserved a point

- QPR manager Paulo Sousa was delighted with his side's 1-0 win over Swansea, a team he believes to be the best footballing side in the Championship.
- A Mikele Leigertwood goal was enough to give the hosts the win and condemn the Swans to their second successive defeat.
- The former Sheffield United man's header on 30 minutes was QPR's first goal in five matches and was enough to curtail a miserable run.
- Such poor form is likely to have cost them a play-off place come the end of the season, with Sousa's men now seven points off the top six.
- "We have had a lot of critics from outside and a lot of adversities but we are a team with a lot of unity, who were trying to get three points against the best football team," Sousa said
- "They are not easy to beat - you have to be very good to beat a team like Swansea."
- Sousa gave a full debut to on-loan Tottenham youngster Adel Taarabt, and the Moroccan put in a classy performance in front of the watching Spurs boss Harry Redknapp - almost conjuring up a second with a curler which flew just wide.
- "He brought great quality to the team; he helped the team to achieve an important victory and he got involved with the team in playing good football," he added
- "We have nine or 10 players injured, but I keep believing in what we can achieve with hard work."
- The defeat meant that the Swans have won just once in six league games but they still find themselves in the play-off hunt with just three points separating themselves and the top six.
- Undeserved
- Despite the defeat Martinez insisted that his side deserved to get something out of the game.- "It was disappointing not to get the result we were looking for," Martinez said.
"We lost to a soft goal from a set-piece, and to lose in that way hurts. The boys showed the right reaction in the second half, and we deserved to get something out of the game.
"Overall, I don't think anyone deserved to win the game. A draw would have been a fair result, but Rangers took advantage of one set-piece." Sky Sports

ITV.COM - Sousa prizes Swans scalp
- QPR boss Paulo Sousa claims his side's 1-0 success against Swansea was a victory over the best footballing team in the Coca-Cola Championship....
- But Sousa said: "We have had a lot of critics from outside and a lot of adversities but we are a team with a lot of unity, who were trying to get three points against the best football team.
- "They are not easy to beat - you have to be very good to beat a team like Swansea..."
- Sousa gave a full debut to on-loan Tottenham youngster Adel Taarabt, and the Moroccan put in a classy performance in front of the watching Spurs boss Harry Redknapp - almost conjuring up a second with a curler which flew just wide.
- "He brought great quality to the team; he helped the team to achieve an important victory and he got involved with the team in playing good football," added Sousa.
- "We have nine or 10 players injured, but I keep believing in what we can achieve with hard work." ITV.com

The Times/Tom Dart - Mikele Leigertwood keeps QPR dream alive
- Formula One decided yesterday that winning is everything and Flavio Briatore, managing director of the Renault team, has long subscribed to that idea in his guise as joint-owner of Queens Park Rangers. So last night’s workmanlike victory was vital for Paulo Sousa, the QPR manager. The West London side had gone nine games without a win and have slid into mid-table in the Coca-Cola Championship, naturally prompting speculation about Sousa’s future.
- Sousa is the seventh manager to inhabit the warmest of hot-seats since Ian Holloway departed just over three years ago and a failure to reach the play-offs, let alone secure promotion, is not likely to go down well with the club’s hierarchy. Now seven points adrift of sixth place with seven games left, this result at least allowed QPR to cling to their faint hopes. Swansea City stay three points below sixth place but their prospects are fading. - Roberto Martínez spring-cleaned his line-up, making five changes from the team that lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Jason Scotland, the Trinidad & Tobago striker and scorer of 21 goals this campaign, dropped to the bench. However, Swansea were second-best in the opening period and created too little.
- Still, if short on clear-cut chances, the first half was entertaining enough, played at the typically hyperactive Championship tempo but garnished with moves of greater originality than are usually found at this level.
- Adel Taarabt, the midfield player on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and making his first start for QPR, was the most beguiling source of invention. The 19-year-old paced the pitch with the self-assured air of one who believes he is too good for his surroundings. And he is probably right. With the ball at his feet he appeared able to saunter past defenders at will.
- There was nothing enlightened about the home side’s goal after half an hour, but there is beauty in simplicity. Jordi López fizzed in a free kick from the right and Mikele Leigertwood headed powerfully into the top corner from ten yards. Swansea had drifted into standby mode after Leigertwood’s header but they pressed the “on” switch right from the start of the second half.
- Thirty seconds after kick-off, Guillem Bauzà set Gorka Pintado through on goal and the striker fashioned room for a shot, finding strength but not direction. Had Pintado aimed for the far post he would surely have scored but his effort was to the near side of Radek Cerny’s net and the goalkeeper made a decent save.
- You could tell Taarabt is something of a maverick from his decision to wear gloves and short sleeves yesterday: not a fashion statement you ever see made by tough-tackling centre backs. Then there was the Morocco player’s fetish for stepovers and other sleights of foot; even if it seemed to confuse his team-mates as much as it baffled opponents.
- Despite Taarabt’s Cristiano Ronaldo tribute act, QPR struggled to carve out opportunities. It did not appear much of a problem because Swansea were impotent at the other end after their brief flurry of pressure. Perspiration was now trumping inspiration.
- Queens Park Rangers (4-1-4-1): R Cerny — P Ramage, F Hall (sub: D Delaney, 83min), K Gorkss, M Connolly — J López (sub: L Miller, 87) — M Alberti, M Leigertwood, H Ephraim, A Taarabt — S Di Carmine (sub: H Helguson, 74). Substitutes not used: R Vine, A German. Booked: Leigertwood.
- Swansea City (4-2-1-3): D de Vries — A Rangel, G Monk, A Williams, A Serran — J Allen (sub: L Britton, 87), D Pratley — G Bauzà — J Gómez (sub: N Dyer, 62), G Pintado (sub: J Scotland, 69), T Butler. Substitutes not used: A Orlandi, M Collins. Booked: Pratley.
- Referee: G Horwood. The Times

The Independent/Conrad Leach - Hope for Sousa as winless run ends
- As players of the same age group, there was no comparison between Paulo Sousa and Roberto Martinez, the former being the famed Portugal international with Champions League winner's medals from two consecutive seasons in the mid-Nineties, with two different clubs, the latter a Spaniard who became famous, in Wigan at least, thanks to his work in the bottom two divisions with Wigan Athletic.
- As managers, there has been some sort of role reversal, to judge by the Championship table, although Sousa is newer to this part of the game. But this victory last night showed that Sousa, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, has designs on besting his fellow Iberian there, too. He showed how proud he was of this result, when he said: "We've had a lot of critics and adversity inside and outside the club, but we beat the best football-playing team in the division, who have had the same manager for four years. As for the play-offs, we keep trying to win every game. But we have 10 players out injured."
- Not that one victory in 10 games is any reason yet for the former Juventus and Borussia Dortmund midfielder to claim he has mastered the art of management, although it lifted Rangers to within four points of Swansea City and seven points shy of the play-offs. Martinez has certainly mastered the art of not taking defeat kindly, blaming the bumpy pitch for affecting his players, but an 11th game in 36 days is as good a reason as any for his side failing to push into the top six.
- There was never likely to be much more than a single-goal margin at Loftus Road. After all, Swansea have drawn more games than anyone else in the division and Rangers had not scored in their previous four matches. Take away Dexter Blackstock, Rangers' top scorer with 12 goals, as the result of a hamstring injury, and the odds were even shorter.
- Curiously, Martinez did likewise with his main attacking threat, Jason Scotland, leaving him on the bench. He did introduce the striker later, but he was unable to provide an equaliser.
- The closest the hosts came to scoring early on was when Adel Taarabt appeared to be brought down in the penalty area, although the referee ignored all claims. There seemed to be less danger in the 30th minute when Jordi Lopez curled in a free-kick from 40 yards out, but then Mikele Leigertwood got in front of his marker to head past Dorus De Vries to foster some late-season optimism in west London.
- Queen's Park Rangers (4-5-1): Cerny; Ramage, Hall (Delaney, 84), Gorkss, Connolly; Alberti, Ephraim, Lopez (Miller, 87), Leigertwood, Taarabt; Di Carmine (Helguson, 74). Substitutes not used: Vine, German.
- Swansea City (4-4-2): De Vries; Rangel, Monk, Williams, Serran; Gomez (Dyer, 62), Allen (Britton, 87), Pratley, Butler; Pintado (Scotland, 69), Bauza. Substitutes not used: Orlandi, Collins. Referee: G Horwood (Bedfordshire). The Independent

The Sun/Paul Jiggins
- PAULO SOUSA never feared for his job as QPR boss before ending a nine-game winless streak.
- And the Portuguese coach is full of belief in his methods as he eyes the play-offs after Mikele Leigertwood nodded in a 30th-minute winner.
- Sousa’s future has been the subject of debate in recent weeks but he now reckons his Hoops can make up a seven-point gap that separates them from the top six.
- He said: “We have had critics from outside the club but we have a team with union who try to get three points every match.
- “The board has always been supportive. I don’t care about opponents when we’re looking at reaching the play-offs.
- “It’s not easy to deal with everything here but I believe in our work. This victory has been a long time coming.”
- Swans have now lost to Charlton, Crystal Palace, Watford and QPR on the road and are three points outside the play-off spots.
- There is certainly still hope for manager Roberto Martinez, but if they do miss out on a place in the top six he will look back on nights like this.
- Martinez left 21-goal top scorer Jason Scotland on the bench and it was not until he came on with 20 minutes left that Swans looked like scoring.
- He said: “We did make changes due to fatigue. We’re paying the price for the run of games we’ve had in a short time.
- “If we want to arrive in the play-offs to challenge, we must arrive fresh and at the top of our ability.” The Sun

Daily Mail/Graham Otway - Leigertwood eases the pressure on Sousa
- Mikele Leigertwood’s powerful header on the half-hour was enough to end QPR’s run of nine matches without a win. The midfielder nodded home Jordi Lopez’s free-kick, but it was very much against the run of play.
- Swansea manager Roberto Martinez said: ‘No-one deserved to win that game. We
didn’t play up to our standards and Rangers achieved three points with a very average performance.’
- Hoop dreams: QPR players mob Leigertwood (second left)
The Welsh side had controlled the match up until the goal, with Radek Cerny having to make two fine saves to keep out long-range efforts by Jordi Gomez.
- Clear chances were at a premium, though, with Swansea missing the influence of top scorer Jason Scotland, who was left on the bench.
- QPR manager Paulo Sousa insisted: ‘You have to play well to beat a quality team like Swansea.’ Mail

- Mikele Leigertwood gave QPR their first win in 10 games last night to ease the pressure on coach Paulo Sousa.
- Leigertwood headed home a Hogan Ephraim free-kick on 30 minutes, but the unconvincing victory and poor crowd showed the Rangers boss still has work to do.
- Sousa declared: "We are working to win every game. We kept trying in the past and we will keep trying in the future."
- Swansea boss Roberto Martinez said: "We are paying the price for the amount of games we have been playing." Mirror

-The Swans were condemned to yet another defeat in London as QPR clinched all three points with a solitary first-half goal.
- It fell to midfielder Mikele Leigertwood who found space inside the area to head home Jordi Lopez's free-kick on the half-hour mark.
- The Swans did have the odd effort but rarely threatened their hosts in a far from entertaining clash in Shepherd's Bush.
- Roberto made five changes to his starting line-up for the match at Loftus Road.
- There was a return at the back for skipper Garry Monk who replaced Albert Serran, but the Spanish defender slotted in at left-back in place of the injured Alan Tate.
- Joe Allen and Guillem Bauza came in to midfield in place of Leon Britton and Jordi Gomez, who moved out wide to replace Nathan Dyer, while Mark Gower made way for Tom Butler.
- The final change came in attack where Gorka Pintado, who was on target in the loss against Crystal Palace, took the place of Jason Scotland....
- It took some time for Roberto's side to get themselves into this game as the hosts did well at keeping the ball, but the Swans did carve out two fine opportunities in quick succession with five minutes played.
- Firstly, Gorka Pintado, making his first league start since November, raced on to the end of Angel Rangel's long ball forward but lost out inside the area, while Jordi Gomez tested Radek Cerny from 20-yards.
- The Spanish playmaker also fancied his chances from just outside the box on the angle with 17 minutes played, taking a touch before curling a wicked strike towards goal, one that Cerny fumbled inside his six-yard area only to safely collect it moments later.
- QPR continued to dominate in the middle of the park, however, and with 30 minutes played two of Rangers' midfielders combined to break the deadlock.
- Darren Pratley was penalised for handball 15-yards outside of the area, Jordi Lopez whipped the free-kick into the heart of the area and Mikele Leigertwood was first to the ball to head past Dorus de Vries.
- The visitors struggled to break down the strong home defence as and just couldn't get the rhythm going as the remainder of the half passed by with neither side creating any clear cut chances.
- Half-Time: QPR 1 Swans 0
- The Swans burst out of the blocks at the start of the second-half and within 50 seconds could have found themselves level as Gorka Pintado latched on to the end of Guillem Bauza's ball over the top, El Toro cut inside Peter Ramage and, from point blank range, forced an excellent stop from Cerny.
- Ramage then cleared along the byline to Tom Butler, who cut inside and sent a curling effort in to the safe hands of the goalkeeper.
- Chances were few and far between for both sides as the game approached the hour mark. Roberto made his first change of the evening shortly after as Nathan Dyer came on to replace Jordi Gomez - the on loan Southampton winger took up residence on the left-hand side while Tom Butler moved over to the right.
- And after five minutes he fired his first attempt at goal from inside the area and receiving the ball from Butler on the right.
- Jason Scotland was thrown on for the final 20 or so minutes in place of Gorka Pintado who rarely threatened in front of goal during his time on the pitch.
- A series of Swansea City corners was followed by the next clear cut effort 10 minutes from time as Bauza intercepted a pass from Serran, took the ball into the area and forced Cerny into making a save low to his right.
- Hoops' substitute Heidar Helguson squandered a chance from close-range while Angel Rangel fired across goal and straight at Cerny, but the home side held on to condemn the Swans to yet another defeat in London. Swansea Official

QPR Official Site - Match Report
- A bullet header from Mikele Leigertwood meant QPR returned to winning ways as they impressively triumphed over a spirited Swansea City side at Loftus Road.
- Jordi Lòpez's beautifully taken free-kick on the half hour found the airborne skipper who arrowed a header into the far corner to hand Rangers their first win in 10 matches.
- The home side dominated throughout and could've added to their lead had Adel Taarabt been a touch more accurate with his long range piledriver, and Heidar Helguson had a little more time.
- Yet despite the absence of up to eight First Team squad members through injury, Paulo Sousa's side outclassed one of the finer footballing sides in the division.
- The win will come as welcome relief to fans and management alike, and may breathe new life into thoughts of a late play-off charge.
- Looking at the team sheet for the home side and it was safe to say one name stood out - Rowan Vine made his long-awaited comeback from a broken leg to take up a seat on the bench and resume First Team duties.
- He was joined by fellow absentee Helguson, recent First Team debutant Antonio German, and Ireland duo Damien Delaney and Liam Miller.
- Four changes to the starting eleven saw Taarabt, on-loan from Tottenham Hotspur, make his full debut after his cameo appearance against Southampton last time out, and a return to the side for Italian striker Samuel Di Carmine.
- Matteo Alberti regained a starting berth at right midfield, with Taarabt on the left, Hogan Ephraim tucked in behind Di Carmine, and Jordi Lòpez and stand-in skipper Leigertwood completed the midfield.
- The final change could be found in the heart of the defence. In came Fitz Hall, alongside Kaspars Gorkss, with Matt Connolly and Peter Ramage taking the full-back spots.
- Swans' Manager Roberto Martinez felt he could do without leading scorer Jason Scotland and winger Nathan Dyer, with both making the bench.
- There were starts, however, for Spaniard Jordi Gomez, fellow midfielder Darren Pratley and Garry Monk at the back.
- And it was the impressive Gomez who had the first attempt on target. Shrugging off Ephraim, he let a bouncing ball fall to his desired height and volleyed a speculative effort straight at R's keeper Radek Cerny, who gratefully caught with ease.
- Cerny had a little more difficulty with another long range Gomez shot. When the Spaniard picked up possession in the inside right position, he moved the ball to his left foot before cracking a drive goal-bound. Slightly lower than the first, Cerny spilled the ball, but dived forward to smother at the second attempt.
- Rangers, not to be outdone on their home turf, followed Swansea's example, but when Ephraim broke through the middle and fed Leigertwood, the latter picked out Ramage. The right back attempted a curling left-footer that took a heavy deflection into the path of Taarabt, who in turn smashed his drive well over.
- With half an hour gone, Rangers opened the scoring for the evening. Leigertwood won a free-kick at the expense of Pratley, and when Lòpez produced a cross of the finest quality, the R's captain was on hand to meet it with a thumping header and powered the ball home beyond Dorus de Vries and into the far corner.
- Eager to overturn the deficit, Swansea raced out of the blocks in the second half. Thomas Butler released Gorka Pintado down the left and the Spanish striker cut inside Hall and, with only Cerny to beat, was denied by a fantastic stop by the R's Czech stopper.
- Following up, Pintado was only denied a second bite of the cherry by a lunging Gorkss, who knocked the ball away for corner in the nick of time.

From then on, it was the visitors who largely dominated possession, but they found themselves up against a resolute blue and white defence.

Having said that, when Taarabt was found on the left and treated the crowd to some quick feet and trickery, his eventual pass found Ephraim, who had no hesitation in trying his luck from the edge of the box. His curling shot, however, was straight down the throat of de Vries.

Now it was the turn of the home side to assert their authority on proceedings but Connolly, usually so assured in possession, almost handed Swansea a lifeline. After Gorkss had cleared a long ball, the left back inexplicably headed the ball back towards the R's goal where Swans substitute Dyer was lurking.
- Taking control, the diminutive winger shrugged off his marker and snapped off a shot which, luckily for Connolly, failed to trouble Cerny.
- But despite the minor fright, Rangers were in full flow. Alberti drilled a pass to Di Carmine who laid it off for Taarabt on 69 minutes, but the Moroccan's well-hit drive arrowed narrowly wide.
- With little over quarter of an hour left to play, boss Paulo Sousa made his first change. The tiring Di Carmine made way for Helguson.
- By this time, Scotland had come on for the Swans, and he was only denied a clear shot on goal by a fine block by Gorkss, with Hall rescuing his defensive partner by hacking the loose ball away before the Trinidad & Tobago striker could pick the scraps.
- Swansea were looking to find a way back into the match, but when a corner broke down, the ball found its way to Taarabt on the right, who held the ball up and played in Ephraim, who beat a man before fizzing a right-wing cross into the box. Monk, looking to beat the rampaging Helguson to the ball, almost did the work for the Icelander, skewing the ball very nearly into his own net.
- Not long after that chance, Rangers were forced to make their second change of the evening. Hall, who had taken a knock, failed to shake it off and was replaced with Delaney.
- Another chance for the home side came and went seconds later, as Ephraim and Taarabt combined to set Helguson free through the middle. But with two defenders closing him down, his hurried shot flew over the bar.
- But it proved to be Rangers' day, and they held on to claim a victory that, by the celebrations amongst the players and staff alike at the final whistle, meant so much to them.... Attendance: 12,288 QPR

See also:
- Clive Whittingham/LoftforWords Match Report

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