Monday 19 March 2018

Ramsey puts loss in perspective

Chris Ramsey insists QPR will not give up fighting for their Premier League future
Chris Ramsey insists QPR will not give up fighting for their Premier League future

QPR manager Chris Ramsey insists his side will cling to the very last semblance of hope in their fight to stay in the Premier League but admits events over the weekend have put things in perspective for everyone.

Just hours before the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, which dramatically reduced their chances of avoiding the drop, it was announced QPR defender Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca had died from cancer at the age of 34.

"It does put things into perspective. There is a very solemn atmosphere in the changing room for both reasons," said the QPR manager.

"The players have run their socks off and come away with nothing again but the events of earlier have put things in the right context.

"The players used it as a strength. Rio would have wanted that and requested that but I wouldn't say it had a bearing on why we didn't come away with a point.

"Everyone will tell you, as a man, he has been absolutely fantastic. He has come in and trained, kept it to himself, not been moping or had the world on his shoulders, he's talked to the young players, he has been a man-mountain.

"We only have good things to say about him and the way he has conducted himself.

"Our thoughts are with him and his family and we hope they can pull together and find strength at this tragic moment."

Defeat left Rangers seven points from safety with just nine to play for and they head to Manchester City next weekend.

Asked whether it was almost impossible to avoid the drop Ramsey added: "Yeah, but the word 'almost' is what you need to cling on to.

"The fans can see what the players are trying to do. We are not going out with a whimper.

"We hope we can muster up three more fantastic performances to get those nine points and make the last few weeks interesting."

QPR's disappointment was made greater because they had dragged themselves back into the game through Leroy Fer's volley after Philippe Coutinho had put the hosts ahead in the first half.

However, after Steven Gerrard missed a penalty, defender Nedum Onuoha was sent off for a second bookable offence and the visitors could not hold on as Gerrard headed home the winner two minutes from time.

The former England captain has just three games remaining of his Liverpool career before he leaves for the Los Angeles Galaxy and manager Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to the midfielder's determination.

"A lot of players, when they miss a big penalty their game goes and their confidence goes. He is the total opposite," he said.

"He is one of a unique group of players that when they need to respond, they do. An outstanding header gets us the win.

"It is a world-class talent. There is a very small group of players in that bracket when, in the big games, they score the big goals and make the big contributions and he has done that throughout his career.

"He missed a penalty and you think it may go against us but there was no-one more determined to make up for it.

"It will probably only be when he is gone that people will recognise what a sheer talent he is."

The win ended a miserable fortnight for Liverpool after they lost an FA Cup semi-final and saw their slim hopes of a top-four finish virtually extinguished.

Minutes before kick-off a plane flew overhead trailing the banner 'Rodgers Out, Rafa In' in reference to former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

"I thought it was Rafa's agent," added Rodgers, who went on to defend his position.

"Football has short memories. We sat here last year and nearly won the league."

Press Association

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