Ramsey: We must restore lost pride
Published 15/05/2015 | 17:11
QPR manager Chris Ramsey insists pride will be at stake when his relegated team enter their penultimate Barclays Premiers League fixture of the season.
The Hoops host Newcastle at Loftus Road with last Sunday's 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City - the result that confirmed their drop into the Sky Bet Championship - still fresh in the mind.
Ramsey has revealed he will not take the opportunity to give young players experience on Saturday, instead looking to restore credibility to his team.
"Whatever happens, we have to first of all try to redress the performance of last week and make sure our home fans see that was just a blip," he said.
"Secondly, we have to ensure the integrity of Premier League, taking into consideration the teams fighting at the bottom of the league and do our bit to make sure everyone has a fair crack at staying up.
"We have to take pride in ourselves in front of our home fans, so there is an obligation to play with maximum energy. I'm preparing myself for a win.
"We'll be doing our best to win the game and will pick our strongest available team."
QPR face Leicester eight days after meeting Newcastle, ensuring they will have a meaningful say in who joins themselves and Burnley in the second tier next term.
"Other teams who might go down have all been pulling off surprise results here and there. I think it's going to be another tight one. I wish we were still in the battle," Ramsey said.
"The fact we are playing two teams who are struggling means we will have a lot to say in what happens. Everyone knows we'll be doing our best to keep everything fair."
Newcastle head coach John Carver has challenged his players to embrace the pressure of having to dig themselves out of a hole.
The Magpies know victory could be enough to prevent them from following the Londoners through the trapdoor, but equally aware that anything less might leave them in desperate trouble with only West Ham's visit to St James' Park next weekend to come.
Carver's men at least stopped the rot last Saturday, when a 1-1 draw with West Brom on Tyneside ended a run of eight successive defeats - a sequence of results which has proved hugely testing for all concerned.
Asked what he had learned in recent weeks, the 50-year-old said: "The last four or five months, I've learned an awful lot, and that's what it's all about. The fact I've been given the time to learn from different situations, I think it's very important .
"The one thing is, I'm looking forward to this weekend because there's a huge challenge in front of us, there's a bit of pressure on us and we have to be able to embrace that pressure and deal with the challenge ahead of us.
"When we come out the other end of it - and hopefully we'll be at the right end of it - then I will definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, be a stronger and better person for it."
Such is the delicacy of the situation at St James' that the club have cancelled next week's end-of-season awards dinner, feeling it was inappropriate to hold a celebration with Premier League status still unsecured.
However, on the pitch, there has been a lift in the collective mood on the back of a better result and, perhaps more importantly, a much improved performance against the Baggies.
Carver said: "The spirit has been good - it's been upbeat. But we are not taking our eye off the ball because we haven't done a job yet. There's a huge job in front of us, starting with Saturday and then the following Sunday, so we need to stay focused."
Full-back Daryl Janmaat returns to the squad after serving a one-match ban, while striker Papiss Cisse and midfielder Rolando Aarons are also available after stepping up their respective bids for full match fitness during the past week.