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Saturday, April 17, 2010

QPR's Cardiff Loss: Match Reports & Warnocks Comments re Today & His Summer Plans...Ex-QPRs: Chairman Caliendo on Dunga

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Neil Warnock admitted that his side are 'thread-bare' up front after seeing his side squander a number of chances before eventually going down to a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff in W12.

Dominant for long spells of the game, the R's were made to pay for missing a whole host of opportunities when Joe Ledley headed home on 80 minutes following a Mark Kennedy centre.

Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk: "Roll on the summer. You've got to score goals to win games - at times we don't look like scoring.

"You look at their bench and you look at ours, we are a bit thread-bare.

"It's just frustrating at the moment, but I've got to think of the long-term, really.

"I don't think we ever looked like scoring, even though there were some great balls across the box.

"We've just got to get through this season and enjoy ourselves next year."

The Hoops boss added: "We played a team that are in the Play-Offs and were far better than them.

"You put as much effort in to a game as that and then you get punished by a sloppy pass by Ali (Alejandro Faurlin), hopefully he'll learn not to make the same mistake.

"I thought that Adel (Taarabt) looked like our only chance of scoring a goal today.

"I think the fans know that we were the best side today, but it's goals that win games.

"I'm desperate to go up next season, there's nothing in the league this year that worries me.

"We've just got to get over the line this year, and give one or two of the kids a chance." QPR

LOOKING AHEAD - Neil Warnock is focussing on next season
By Andrew Warshaw, 17/04/2010

ROLL on next season. That was QPR boss Neil Warnock's stark admission after his hit-and-miss side again flattered to deceive.

Patched-up Rangers had the bulk of possession and hit the woodwork but came off second best as Cardiff clinched a play-off place after missing out by one goal last season.

Rangers may still need something from their last two games to be mathematically safe from relegation.

But Warnock is already looking beyond the summer to achieve his goals after arriving at Loftus Road in early March from Crystal Palace.

Warnock, desperate to build his own side and get Rangers into the top flight, said: "Roll on the summer.

"We had some great balls across the box today but at times we just haven't looked like scoring. We were far better than Cardiff but that's life.

"It'll be a totally different ball game next season, I promise you that. That's when we can start enjoying ourselves."

Warnock inherited a squad full of loan players, including Arsenal striker Jay Simpson and Tottenham's Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt - the pick of the Rangers team.

He doesn't expect many to be around by August.

Warnock explained: "We've got more points with Adel than we would have done without him but I relish the opportunity to bring in my own players.

"I'll be surprised if I have one on loan. If I do it means I haven't done my job.

"The fans know we were the best side today and I am desperate to go up.

"There is nothing in this league this season that worries me, let alone next. We just need to get over the line and then look forward."

Rangers put Cardiff under pressure for long periods, Taarabt thumping the ball against the post early on with an low drive that had the pink-attired David Marshall scrambling across his line.

A goal then would have galvanised Rangers, who were hoping to finish with a flourish following last weekend's impressive win at Crystal Palace, Warnock's former club.

Instead, they continued to push forward but rarely threatened a Cardiff defence marshalled superbly by Anthony Gerrard, cousin of Liverpool's Steve.

Stewards ordered Cardiff's 1,600-strong following to remove a Welsh flag draped over the stand which prompted a torrent of nationalistic chanting but, thankfully, no trouble.

Taarabt's surging run down the right was missed by two Rangers players and it was their last real chance to go in front.

Gerrard almost took advantage of a slip by Radek Cerny but with 11 minutes to go, Cardiff finally ended a barren spell at Loftus Road with a smash-and-grab special.

Mark Kennedy burst down the left and Joe Ledley, subject of a £6million bid from Stoke earlier in the campaign, stole in unmarked to send the visiting Bluebirds diehards into ectasy.

Taarabt was booked for diving when Rangers thought they should have had a penalty and Marshall saved superbly from substitute Lee Cook.

But Cardiff held on to make it into the Championship play-offs 50 years to the day since they last gained promotion to the top flight.

Warnock lamented: "Look at their bench and look at ours. We were a bit threadbare but I like Cardiff and good luck to them.

"I thought they would go up last year and I told them that. This time, you could probably put all four in a hat and toss a coin. There is no outstanding team in the play-offs."

Cardiff boss Dave Jones, who has worked wonders with a limited budget, said he now wanted to chase down Forest and finish third.

Jones saw his team extend their unbeaten run to nine games and said: "It's a fantastic achievement but it's only the first part.

"It's great to reach the play-offs with two games to go but we don't want to take our foot of the gas.

"We've got good momentum and want to keep that going. It's no good getting there and then soft pedalling

"The difference to last year is a quiet confidence plus the squad players have stepped up to the plate."
REMAINING GAMES - QPR: Tue v Watford (h); Sat v Barnsley (a); May 2 v Newcastle (h).
CARDIFF: Sat v Sheff Wed (h); May 2 Derby (a). News of The World

QPR Official Site Joe Ledley grabbed a late winner, as Cardiff City earned a win over QPR that guarantees them a place in the top six.

A lively encounter throughout, the game looked to be heading for a stalemate until Ledley struck with just ten minutes remaining.

Mark Kennedy broke at pace down the left, looking up before crossing for the unmarked Ledley at the back post from the left-hand byline, and the midfielder made no mistake to plant his header home.

Rangers could - and probably should - have stolen a point with only minutes to spare, but David Marshall was on hand to superbly tip substitute Lee Cook's shot from close range out for a corner.

Rangers made one alteration to the side that defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 last weekend, with Jay Simpson replacing Damion Stewart (head) for the visit of the Bluebirds.

Meanwhile, Dusko Tosic made his home debut for QPR.

Radek Cerny was in goal for the R's.

Mikele Leigertwood and Tosic both started at full-back, while Peter Ramage partnered Kaspars Gorkss in the centre of defence.

In midfield, Tamas Priskin and Hogan Ephraim took up positions out wide, with Akos Buzsaky and Alejandro Faurlin starting in the middle of the park.

Adel Taarabt played just short of Simpson in attack.

In an open start to the game, Rangers fashioned the first opportunity to score.

Leigertwood picked up the ball on the right before his shot from 25 yards deflected into the path of Simpson, who fired just wide of the right-hand post.

The R's were looking sharp in the opening ten minutes, and after Simpson and Taarabt combined on the edge of the area, the latter's cross only just evaded Priskin six yards from goal before going out for a goal kick.

Cardiff weren't letting the Hoops have all of their own way, however, and Cerny had to be alert to claim Jay Bothroyd's low cross after the striker broke away down the left-hand side.

But the hosts were soon back on the offensive and only moments later, they went within inches of taking the lead.

Faurlin and Taarabt combined midway into the City half before the latter took the ball on and fired in a shot from 25-yards out that smashed back off Marshall's right-hand post before being cleared up field.

Play then switched to the other end. After a long ball was played up to Bothroyd, the striker flicked on to put Ross McCormack through on goal, but the hot-shot could only fire wide when under pressure from his marker, Ramage.

Soon after, Bothroyd found space down the left before playing a ball across the edge of the area that eventually found its way to Chris Burke, who blazed wide of the left-hand post for Cardiff.

Moments later, Hogan Ephraim received possession on the left before cutting in and firing a shot straight at the keeper from 25-yards out.

The Hoops almost grabbed the lead just before the interval.

Taarabt broke free down the right before sending in a cross that just missed Simpson, before Priskin made a hash of his effort as he swiped at the ball with the goal at his mercy.

The R's started the second period in similar fashion to the first when they created the opening chance of the half to find the net.

Tosic was the provider, sending in a delightful low cross to Priskin, but the striker could only fire a tame effort straight at Marshall in the Bluebirds net.

Moments later, Taarabt then found space down the left before sending over a dinked cross to Ephraim, but the winger could only get minimal contact on his header as the ball trickled into the hands of Marshall.

Play soon switched to the other end where Cardiff could - and probably should - have taken the lead.

After Peter Whittingham played over a devastating free-kick from the left, Cerny was unable to keep hold of the ball as it bounced into his path, directing the ball into the direction of Anthony Gerrard.

The City defender looked certain to notch the opening goal of the game from just a couple of yards out, before Ramage got across to expertly slide the ball out for a corner with a superb goal-saving challenge.

The Bluebirds, by now, were seeing much more possession, and Bothroyd was unlucky to see his effort go just over the crossbar after turning McCormack's centre goalwards following a Cardiff counter attack.

Soon after, it was Rangers' turn to miss a gift-wrapped chance of their own.

Taarabt's long ball was controlled brilliantly inside the City area by Simpson, before the striker touched the ball back to the oncoming Ephraim, who could only lash over from 12-yards out.

Both sides were pushing for a winner in this pulsating affair, and Gorkss was unlucky to see his header go just over the target following Taarabt's sweeping corner kick from the right.

Though Cardiff were the side who got that all-important first goal courtesy of Ledley when they hit Rangers on the break.

Kennedy was the architect, bursting down the left before crossing for Ledley, who couldn't miss to head home just a yard from goal.

The Hoops had chances to equalise, namely when Cook's effort from a Taarabt centre was expertly tipped wide by Marshall, but Cardiff held out to seal the points.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Leigertwood, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Faurlin, Simpson (Cook 83), Ephraim (Parker 85), Tosic, Priskin (German 90), Taarabt.

Subs: Vine, Hill, Oastler, Putnins.

Bookings: Ramage, Taarabt

Cardiff City: Marshall, McNaughton, Kennedy, Whittingham, Bothroyd, McPhail, Burke (Etuhu 67), Gerrard, Ledley, Blake, McCormack (Chopra 63).

Subs: Gyepes, Capaldi, Enckelman, Matthews, Wildig.

Goals: Ledley (80)

Referee: Mr M Oliver

Attendance: 12, 832 (1613) QPR

By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport

Joe Ledley looks set to be playing in the Premier League next season after firing Cardiff into the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs.

The Wales international's goal in the 1-0 win at QPR guaranteed City a top-six finish, but he is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Stoke, Blackburn and Everton.

Bluebirds boss Dave Jones admits the only way Cardiff can hang on to their prized asset is by securing promotion themselves.

"I've got no problem with what Joe is doing," said Jones.

"He's in a position where he can pick and choose but he wants to stay here and the only way we'll probably keep him is by getting there ourselves."

Ledley has suffered an injury-hit season and only recently returned to action following a double hip operation.

But he picked the perfect time to score his third goal of the campaign, tucking away Mark Kennedy's cross with 10 minutes remaining.

His strike finally banished the memories of last season's dramatic collapse - Cardiff picked up one point from their last four games to miss out on the play-offs by a single goal.

There are no such worries this time round with the Welshmen assured of a shot at Wembley and the top flight with two games to spare.

"It's a fantastic achievement but it's only the first part of the achievement," added Jones.

"It's no good getting there and not having a right good go at it.

"We've got good momentum and we want to keep that going. There's no point taking your foot off the gas.

"The players are a great bunch and they are different to last year. There is a confident quietness about them that was probably missing at the end.

"We've got players coming back who are fresh whereas last year we ran out of steam. Now we can chase down third place."

Rangers were expected to be in the promotion shake-up thmselves this term but instead they have living dangerously at the other end of the table.

Adel Taarabt went closest to finding the net for the hosts when his 20-yard shot crashed against the post.

Rangers should be safe, lying six points above the drop zone with three games remaining, and the end of the season cannot come soon enough for boss Neil Warnock.

"I told Cardiff to make sure they go up because next season we will be a different ball game," he said.

"We need to get though this season and then look to enjoy ourselves next year.

"You need goals to win games and we don't look like scoring goals. It's frustrating."

1 Newcastle 43 52 95
2 West Brom 44 40 89

3 Nottm Forest 44 22 75
4 Cardiff 44 20 73
5 Leicester 44 13 70
6 Swansea 44 5 68

7 Blackpool 44 15 66
8 Middlesbrough 44 11 61
9 Reading 43 5 59
10 Bristol City 44 -10 59
11 Sheff Utd 43 2 58
12 Doncaster 44 0 56
13 Ipswich 44 -8 55
14 Preston 44 -11 54
15 Derby 44 -11 53
16 Coventry 44 -13 53
17 Barnsley 44 -15 53
18 QPR 43 -8 51
19 Sc*n*horpe 43 -21 50
20 Watford 43 -13 48
21 Crystal Palace 44 -3 47
22 Sheff Wed 43 -19 45
23 Plymouth 43 -19 41
24 Peterborough 44 -34 31

Blackpool3-1Nottm ForestFT
Derby1-1Crystal PalaceFT
Sc*n*horpe3-0Bristol CityFT
West Brom1-0MiddlesbroughHT

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