Thursday, April 25, 2024

He’s available – Marti Cifuentes reluctant to discuss Ilias Chair situation

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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QPR boss Marti Cifuentes was reluctant to talk about Ilias Chair after a 2-1 victory at home to Rotherham lifted the west London side out of the Championship relegation zone.

Chair featured amid reports he faces a year in prison after being found guilty in Belgium of assault, but his club said in a statement on Friday that “the legal proceeding is yet to reach its conclusion”.

Asked about the playmaker’s inclusion, Cifuentes said: “I think the club made a very clear statement about the situation. I don’t want to comment much about this.

“He’s an available player and I’m happy for him – it was a very good performance and he’s a very important player for us.

“I’m very pleased about the team’s performance and that’s all I can say regarding Ilias.”

Chair teed up the winning goal for Chris Willock, whose 75th-minute strike secured three priceless points.

Tom Eaves’ early goal gave the division’s bottom side hope of a first away win since November 2022.

But the hosts turned it around in the second half, with Paul Smyth equalising before Willock fired home.

Cifenutes said: “I’m very happy for the guys and for the fans. Finally, after a lot of weeks in the bottom three, it’s something that’s a milestone mentally.

“At the same time, we need to keep very humble. We know that we have a very tough schedule in front of us, so we need to keep on pushing.

“But that shows the progress of the team. At half-time we made some adjustments and the second half was much better.

“All credit to the players because we put the ball on the ground in the second half, competed much better and I’m very pleased.”

Rotherham boss Leam Richardson felt tiredness was a factor in his side’s failure to hold on to their lead.

The Millers, beaten 4-3 at Ipswich in midweek, have now lost six matches in a row and are without a win in 10.

Richardson, who took over in December, said: “We’ve got an awful habit of taking games to people, going in front and then losing by one goal after not seeing a performance through.

“We’ve got a small squad and it looked like we ran out of legs a little bit, with travelling to Ipswich on Tuesday night and travelling back down here yesterday.

“Sometimes the Championship can catch up with you if you’re not bang at it and your fitness levels are not really high.

“Our lads put a lot in on Tuesday night and it’s very similar over the games I’ve been here – the performance levels are there to compete, we just need to turn that dial a bit to turn the draws into wins and losses into draws.

“I came into a situation which I knew and I’ve been trying to instil good habits. It’s important that we work hard and that we address certain things and move forward to be better as a football club.”

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