Ainsworth - commitment is everything!
Those boys were outstanding and the commitment they`ve showed for me tonight is the reason we`ve won this game, said Ainsworth as he took his first press conference at home as Caretaker Manager, following QPR`s 1-0 defeat of Birmingham City. He added proudly, We have something going here at the moment where everybody`s pulling tight together and backing each other. Ainsworth admitted that different types of footballing systems wouldn`t work if there was no commitment from the players: commitment is forever and that`s how we won tonight, he was very keen to stress throughout his interview.
Ainsworth admitted that, at half-time, he told the players that he believed in them and believed that they could go on to win the game, which is why he kept two up front once we went down to 10 men. Ainsworth believed we could score but once Di Carmine had put us ahead, he quickly changed things around to secure the win by locking Birmingham out!
Gareth also talked about "that" sending off, which he thought was harsh. He felt that the referee, Stuart Attwell, didn`t give us any favours after that. This belief has been backed by the Club which has now lodged a formal appeal against the red card. Time will tell in the FA agree with the Club`s view of Leigertwood`s rather high foot!
Ainsworth singled out debutant Damiano Tommasi`s performance, claiming that he was outstanding in the central midfield. You can see his contribution to Italian football throughout the years and he`s a great pro to have, a fantastic asset to have at QPR. Ainsworth talked about the injury that Tommasi had had, from which he has had to rebuild his match fitness. But he also admitted that, in his capacity as Reserve Team Manager, he had been in a unique position to watch Tommasi play. That gave Ainsworth an insight into Tommasi`s suitability to make his first-team start last night, despite Ian Dowie claiming only a week ago that Tommasi was not match fit yet!
Ainsworth talked about how, when Di Carmine was substituted due to cramp towards the end of the game, he encouraged the crowd to give the striker a hero`s send-off. He went on that he wanted the crowd to acknowledge all his players in a similar fashion - unless a player had not given 100%! He acknowledged that he could accept the fans letting a player know they were displeased if that player hadn`t given his all, at which time I will tell the player himself Ainsworth admitted. This seems to be a direct comment to that section of the crowd who had recently been showing their displeasure by booing at both half- and full-time. At least Gareth is being honest enough now to admit that the fans have a right to express their opinions - something that Martin Rowlands was keen to deny us with his choice comments, and a debate which Ainsworth himself entered into a few weeks ago!
Ainsworth did talk about the departure of Ian Dowie and went on to discuss the controversial claims that there has been interference from "other parties" when it comes to picking the first team! Regarding this weekend`s game at Ipswich, Ainsworth said, There will be discussions again through the parties and I put my case forward for players. Other people put their case forward for players and then the final input is mine on the pitch. He added that people may have been surprised at the changes made for last night`s game, but tried to play the politician by saying that, the main thing is that QPR have won this game 1-0 with 10 men, so whatever we`ve done is justified! This smacks to me of direct interference from the Chairman, despite all Ainsworth`s best efforts to imply otherwise.
When asked outright if he had the final say on the starting eleven, Ainsworth started talking about the massive investment made by the Directors and how those who have made those investments are interested in their investments. They want to know what`s going on and I`m happy to be in those meetings and those discussions about the players. He did claim, however, that once the game started, it was me in the dugout and I`ve got to get the eleven men going. He also talked about how the substitutions were his decision - despite suggestions (on some message boards) that he only made the substitutions after advice from "elsewhere", (a euphemism for Chairman Flavio Briatore).
I am not going to suggest that Briatore really is interfering and picking the team, nor whether I believe it is wanted, needed, welcome e or correct. All I will say is that, last night, I watched my team play with guts, spirit and heart and try their very, very best - and, in the end, that turned out to be good enough! Birmingham were not good enough last night, as admitted by their own manager, Alex McLeish in his post match interview:The disappointment for me was the performance level. I can take a defeat but we had too many players off the boil in this match. I believe that was because we made them bad! Birmingham didn`t know how to respond to our gutsy display - and that, I believe, is a direct result of Gareth Ainsworth`s infectious enthusiasm which he has clearly transmitted to the players very quickly.
Well, those are my thoughts - now We want to know YOUR thoughts!