QPR chief Marti Cifuentes explains crucial half-time tactical changes in Rotherham win

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes revealed that his decision to switch formation at half-time in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Rotherham United was made to help his side win more second balls.

Rangers found themselves a goal down to the Championship strugglers at the interval, leading Cifuentes to switch to a 3-4-3 system that saw Ilias Chair and Chris Willock moved into more central roles in support of striker Michael Frey.

The change paid off, with Willock leading a second-half comeback as he set up substitute Paul Smyth for the equaliser before finding the net himself as part of an impressive showing.

“In the first half we were not picking up the second balls,” said Cifuentes.

Picture: Rob Avis

“Usually, the way we press can empty the midfield. We spoke a bit about being more aggressive in the first line [of pressing] but being more cautious about the second ball.

“We put the ball on the ground in the second half.  We had much better positions and we could pick up the second ball.

“We competed much better on the direct balls they played to the strikers and from there we could play our game.”

Cifuentes also made a double substitution at the break, with Smyth and Sam Field replacing Joe Hodge and Isaac Hayden.

Both midfielders had been shown yellow cards in the opening 45 minutes, and the QPR boss felt that adjustments in the middle of the park were required to turn the game around.

“The distances between Jack [Colback] and Hodge to Isaac were too long,” Cifuentes explained.

“We put Jack more at the base [of midfield] to compete and win second balls, and had Ilias and Chris at different depths to pick up the ball and counter or build an attack.

“It worked really well but all of the credit to the players because the quality of the minutes that Smyth delivered today is credit to him. The same with Sam, it shows we can count on him at any moment.

“I am very pleased about the bench impact today.”

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