Gareth Ainsworth knew QPR scorer Sinclair Armstrong would find net at Cardiff
QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth revealed that he told Sinclair Armstrong he would score his first goal for the club before the young Irish striker came up trumps in a 2-1 win at Cardiff.
The 20-year-old Armstrong opened his Rangers account before charging clear to set up Kenneth Paal’s second-half clincher, with Ike Ugbo’s open-goal finish nothing more than a consolation for Cardiff.
“I told Sinclair in the hotel this morning that he was going to score his first goal and the beaming smile on his face gave me confidence, never mind him,” said Ainsworth.
“He’s a man of few words. He just said: ‘Cheers gaffer’. He told me after the game: ‘You were right gaffer’.
“He’s a work in progress but I believe we’ve got a real diamond. He’s young and come out of a lower level in Ireland.
“He’s not had enough games in the Championship yet, but he will get there and he’s like a 100 metres sprinter.
“He’s the quickest player I’ve ever worked with and is going to cause serious problems for defences.”
Ainsworth’s position has come under scrutiny after failing to stop QPR’s slide following his move from Wycombe in February.
QPR narrowly avoided relegation from the Sky Bet Championship last season and lost 4-0 at Watford on the opening day of this campaign after conceding four first-half goals.
“I didn’t give them the best chance of being successful (at Watford) and it’s been a big week – and a big day – for me,” said Ainsworth.
“I thought ‘how do I get the best out of the players I’ve got?’ rather than thinking what’s got me success over the last 10 years.
“This is new now, it’s not what I’ve had, and we had to change.
“There is going to be some pain before we get better, but I can see the start now and I want to build.”
There was plenty of excitement around Cardiff with Aaron Ramsey, having returned to the club in the summer, making his first appearance at home since 2011.
But new Cardiff manager Erol Bulut said: “Many players were nervous – I don’t understand why. Maybe it is the first game in front of our fans. But that is not a reason to be nervous.
“We created enough to at least score a second goal and get a point. But two individual mistakes in the game meant the opponents led 2-0 and it’s not easy to come back to draw from there.
“We have to keep working on our mistakes. Also some players have to be much more active.
“From some players, it’s not enough. They have to give a better performance.
“Many players still have in their heads the last two years, how the Championship was for them.
“I try to push it out of them, to believe in themselves and focus on our target.”