‘The focus is on performing well’ – QPR boss Cifuentes not concerned by precarious position in the league table

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes is remaining focused on his team’s performances rather than the league table as the Championship relegation battle begins to reach its conclusion.

Rangers are 20th in the league standings, one point and two places above the drop zone with just nine games left to play.

Cifuentes claimed when he arrived as head coach in October that how his team played was of greater concern than where they were in the table, and he is maintaining that stance as a tense fight for survival takes them to Sunderland on Saturday.

“Even though we managed to get out of the bottom three, it is very tight,” he said.

“I think it [looking at the league table] will just create stress and put focus where it shouldn’t be. The focus is about us performing well. If we are performing well then the results will come, and the table will look better.

“It doesn’t make sense to spend energy to think about what the other ones [teams] are doing.

“I am aware that this season it might take a really high number of points to get out of the bottom three – that’s a fact.

“But no excuses, we are here to compete and that’s why my focus is to make sure the team plays every game better and we improve as a team, and then things will happen. Turning to other priorities would be a mistake.”

Following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough, QPR could have fallen back into the bottom three if Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City had won their games in the days that followed.

Both failed to take advantage though, and Cifuentes is encouraging his players to not concern themselves with how direct rivals are faring.

“It seems that they are trusting me but perhaps they lie and look at the table,” he said with a smile.

“The message has been consistent from the beginning. I said from day one there was quality players in the squad, and it was about getting the best from them.

“The additions we made [in the January transfer window] are paying off but we need to be aware that we have achieved nothing.

“We need to make sure we improve week after week and that is why these five days to prepare for Sunderland are so important for us.

“In a league that is so demanding, with the crazy fixtures and the amount of games, every time we’ve got a window like this one to work with them, it is so valuable.”

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