Marti Cifuentes admitted it was “really difficult” to leave Elijah Dixon-Bonner out of his team for Saturday’s game against Bristol City.
The 22-year-old midfielder made his first QPR league start in the 1-1 draw at Rotherham United last weekend and impressed in the absence of Jack Colback and Andre Dozzell.
The pair returned from suspension against Bristol City and were given starting berths at the expense of Dixon-Bonner, who was limited to a late cameo from the bench.
Cifuentes revealed that it was not an easy choice to make given how the former Chelsea and Liverpool youngster had performed in his first game in charge.
“It’s true that it has been a really difficult decision [to leave out Dixon-Bonner],” he said. “Elijah played a really good game at Rotherham but at the same time I know that he is aware that he will be an important player over the season.
“There is no doubt that Dozzell and Colback are very important players for us – they are very good players, good passing players, good technical players.
“It is good that there are different possibilities and competition [for places] is high in the team.”
Steve Cook was one of QPR’s standout performers on the day as his composure in possession helped to implement Cifuentes’ desire for his team to play out from the back.
The 32-year-old centre-back also helped contribute to Rangers keeping their first clean sheet at Loftus Road since March 11.
“He has been brilliant over the last two games,” said Cifuentes when asked about Cook. “He’s very good at taking responsibility, a leader in the dressing room.
“Defensively he has been almost perfect and with the ball he has been brilliant. He is catching this way of playing very quickly.”
The new QPR boss also confirmed that right-back Reggie Cannon missed the game against Bristol City after suffering a knock in training.
“Reggie got a painful feeling in his knee,” Cifuentes explained. “He went for some tests and it is a small injury, not a big one. We don’t know when he will be ready but we hope it will not be a long injury.”
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