14 March 2023

Gareth Ainsworth apologises to QPR fans after ‘unacceptable performance’

14 March 2023

Gareth Ainsworth apologised to QPR supporters after his side fell to a crushing 6-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Blackpool.

Jerry Yates, Andy Lyons, Curtis Nelson and Jordan Thorniley put the hosts 4-0 up before Chris Martin’s header gave Rangers a glimmer of hope just before half-time.

However, Lyons grabbed his second after the break and Kenny Dougall scored late on as Blackpool cruised to a comfortable victory.

QPR could fall into a battle for survival after a crushing defeat that leaves them 19th, just seven points off the relegation zone having lost five of their last six games.

“I must apologise to the fans because that was an unacceptable performance overall,” said Ainsworth.

“I’m not worried, because we’ve got plenty of good players in the dressing room, but Blackpool smashed us and I just didn’t see that coming before the game.

“We looked nervous, we looked weak, but we’ve all got to get over this quickly.

“I expected the lads to stand up to Blackpool much better than they did, so this result hurts.

“I just wish I could have put my boots on and gone out there myself.

“I would have defended those set-pieces better.

“It’s up to me to pick the lads up again now, though.

“I feel a bit like I’ve trodden on broken glass, but we’ll go again between now and the end of the season and then get ourselves ready for next season, in the Championship.”

The result gives Mick McCarthy’s side much-needed hope in their battle for survival, leaving them three points off Cardiff in 21st and safety.

However, McCarthy did not rest on his laurels at half-time despite his side’s seemingly unassailable lead.

He said: “The lads up front destroyed QPR tonight, but even though we were 4-1 up at half-time, I knew we’d need to do it all again in the second half.

“We did that, though, and once we’d got the fifth there was no coming back from that.

“After what happened on Saturday I really wanted a big performance from the lads tonight, and I think I got it.

“We knew it was going to be tough because they’d had a terrific result at the weekend, but we were excellent right from the start.

“I couldn’t have asked for any more than we got tonight.

“This kind of result doesn’t happen very often, and I stressed that to the lads beforehand that it wouldn’t be easy at all.

“I knew QPR could cause us some damage, but we just flew at them in the early stages.

“It won’t be 6-1 on Saturday when we’ve got Coventry here, but if we can just replicate that kind of performance, then that’s all I can ask.”

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