‘He showed he loves QPR’ – Marti Cifuentes lauds Chris Willock display in Preston win

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes was delighted with the committed display of attacking midfielder Chris Willock in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Preston North End and hopes it will be possible to work with the 26-year-old next season.

Rangers secured a vital three points in their fight for Championship survival when Preston goalkeeper Freddie Woodman dropped a Willock cross into the path of Lyndon Dykes to score.

That was not the Arsenal academy graduate’s only important contribution though, with Cifuentes joking that the four tackles that he put in must have been a personal record.

Willock has notched four goals and three assists since Cifuentes replaced Gareth Ainsworth in October but his contract is set to expire in the summer.

“He knows how much we rate him, and I think he knows how much we like him,” said the Spaniard. “But what is going to happen in the future I don’t know. What is sure is that he showed today that he loves this club and that he wanted to play here and help us.”

Willock combined effectively with fellow attackers Ilias Chair and Lucas Andersen throughout a confident QPR display.

The trio registered eight key passes between them as the home side ended up having 18 shots at goal.

Even though it was Dykes who earned the victory with his first goal in 16 games, Cifuentes revealed a tactical tweak was responsible for getting the best out of those around him.

“We were talking about different positioning when it comes to attacking and defending,” he said.

“Against teams that play a wing-back system with three at the back [like Preston], we have been doing it in different ways – not only depending on formation, but the way they play.

“We did a good job to pick up the second balls and then have easy transitions and ways to get high on the pitch.

“It worked well and when you have good players it works even better.

“When you have good players they like to play close to each other. Chrissy had a fantastic game. Lucas had some actions where he was very close, but I think he is showing he is a very good player. And Illy as well is very important for us.

“Today Lyndon had one of his best games of the season, if not the best one. He showed character, he showed personality.

“We have been talking throughout the season about scoring ugly goals, cheap goals, and he was in the right place at the right time [to score].”

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