Cifuentes identifies decisive Middlesbrough tactical decision that helped see off QPR

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes suggested that Middlesbrough’s use of a five-man defence helped the visitors to a 2-0 win at Loftus Road today.

Michael Carrick’s side ended Rangers’ four-game unbeaten run to leave the west Londoners firmly in Championship relegation danger, and were comfortable winners after Emmanuel Latte Lath had given them a second-half lead.

Former AFC Wimbledon loanee Marcus Forss sealed the win with a header not long after, but by then the damage had already been done.

“They defended well with a back five,” said Cifuentes.

“Over the last five games, they have lost three with a back four and won two with a back five.

“We expected them to play with a back five, but when the schedule is so busy there is not much time to work on how to attack that kind of defence.

“We struggled a bit and still managed to create some good chances in the first half.

“There are different ways to press a back five. Today what we wanted to do is try and be more aggressive and defend further forward but we didn’t have the [right] impact.”

Having changed his central striker for each of the last four matches, Cifuentes opted to stick with January signing Michael Frey against Boro after the Swiss forward had also begun the midweek draw against West Bromwich Albion.

Frey was replaced in the 55th minute by Lyndon Dykes having failed to register a shot, and Sinclair Armstrong only came on after Rangers had fallen two goals behind.

“One of the reasons that we picked Mike is because he is a very good player inside the box,” explained Cifuentes.

“All of the strikers have different skills and different qualities.

“We expected Middlesbrough to play with a back five and it is very important against a lower [defensive] block, playing at home after the energy we got in the last game, that he [Frey] is very good in the box occupation.

“He is a striker that can score goals from crosses and being in the right place, and we thought that he could be a good choice to start even though we knew he would not make 90 minutes.”


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