Monday, April 22, 2024

Jimmy Dunne ‘deserves everything’ – Marti Cifuentes hails QPR match-winner

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Mar 2024

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QPR boss Marti Cifuentes said Jimmy Dunne deserved his moment of glory after the defender’s sensational stoppage-time goal secured a 2-1 victory over fellow Championship strugglers Birmingham.

Dunne’s stunning left-footed volley from near the edge of the penalty area took Rangers four points clear of the relegation zone.

The unlikely hero, usually a centre-back, lost his place in the team after some shaky performances and has more recently been deployed at right-back.

Cifuentes said: “He deserves everything. I’m very happy for him. He’s a quality, quality human being.

“He will enjoy this moment, but when things weren’t going his way and there were games he was not starting he was always first in training, supporting his team-mates and happy when the team won.

“Perhaps people tend to underrate him. In the Championship he has always played, with different managers, and there is a reason why.

“Sometimes players can think we take them out (of the team) because we don’t trust them. It’s not because of that, it’s just because there is a lot of competition.”

Dunne’s strike consigned Birmingham to defeat in their first match since Gary Rowett’s return to the club as interim boss.

Juninho Bacuna’s 62nd-minute goal had put Blues within sight of a first win in seven games, but Steve Cook equalised three minutes later and Dunne’s late cracker gave Rangers the points.

Cifuentes added: “It was massive and I think it was one of the biggest achievements since I arrived.

“The feeling was that we should have been leading and then instead Birmingham scored a very good goal.

“It was very important to react immediately. To get the equaliser and be able to keep pushing, it was so important, this moment.

“But we need to be very careful. Today is a day to be very happy, but the reality is that there are seven games left and we will need to pick up a lot more points. It’s going to be difficult until the end.”

Rowett took encouragement from Birmingham’s improved display, despite the result.

“It was a cruel way to end what has been a really positive and productive week in terms of the work we’ve done. I thought some of it came out in the game,” he said.

“Some of the (negative) things that have been happening also happened in the game, but you’re not going to change that instantly.”

Blues are now without a win in seven matches and remain above third-from-bottom Huddersfield only on goal difference.

“When you score that goal away from home you then need a period of the game where the opposition feel a bit more desperate,” Rowett added.

“But they scored pretty much straightaway. Then we lost the game in the way that we did.

“I won’t let that undo the positive things that happened in the game. I won’t let it affect the players.

“Results-wise I don’t think it massively changes the position we’re in, but it’s just one more opportunity we had to take something and I think we probably did deserve to take something.

“I knew this would be a challenging job. I didn’t expect to wave a magic wand and change everything in the first game.

“It’s one game down and we’ll take the positives from it and make sure we improve.”

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