‘They are determined to get the points we need’ – QPR will be fired up for Canaries battle, vows interim boss
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Interim manager John Eustace has warned Norwich City they will be facing a fired up Queens Park Rangers team at Carrow Road this weekend, following the sacking of Steve McClaren.
The Rs have won just one of their last 15 league games, with a 2-1 home loss to lowly Bolton bringing an end to McClaren’s reign, with the West London side 17th and seven points clear of the bottom three.
Assistant manager Eustace has been placed in charge ahead of Saturday’s match at Norwich (12.30pm) and has made it clear Rangers cannot be sure of safety with seven games remaining.
“The first point I made to the players is that they are in a relegation battle, and they know that,” the former Watford midfielder said. “We have got seven tough games and we need to be competitive in every one of them.”
With Tim Sherwood still favourite with the bookies for the vacancy, Eustace looks set to be in charge against the league leaders and has been pleased with the reaction of the squad in training this week.
“The attitude of the lads has been fantastic,” he continued. “There has been a real focus there and they are determined to get the points we need to make sure we stay in the league.
“They are a good, honest bunch and I am sure they are hurting as well right now. The most important thing is that as an entire club we work hard, support each other and get the points we need.
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“The staff, the players and the fans all have a big role to play between now and the end of the season.”
Rs midfielder Luke Freeman, also speaking to QPR’s official website, assured the promotion chasing Canaries that they won’t be getting an easy ride at Carrow Road.
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“You want to play against all the best teams, and being as we are as a team, I think we suit being the underdog at QPR,” Freeman said.
“When we’re given games that we should win, for whatever reason that doesn’t seem to happen, so for certain being the underdog suits us and that’s what we’ll be on Saturday – so let’s hope that works in our favour like it has done before.”
The one game that Rangers have won in their last 15 league matches was 1-0 at home against second-placed Leeds in February, with Freeman aiming to take inspiration from that success – in which he scored the only goal.
“They’re by far one of the best teams in the league aren’t they,” he said of Norwich as he continued. “So technically you look at it and you’ve got nothing to lose, have you, you’re playing one of the big teams.
“On the other hand, you look at it and we’ve already done it to Leeds, so let’s do it again. They’ll be feeling the pressure as much as we will, but in different kinds of ways.
“We’ve just got to go there and embrace it, that’s the biggest thing in football, if you let that fear factor take over you that’s when things go completely out of the window.
“You’ve got to embrace the moment and challenge and say let’s go and enjoy it and make things happen, because as soon as you don’t do that you start not playing your game and things end up getting worse and worse.
“So we’ve got to go there, embrace it, be prepared to work hard and we’ve proved we can do it this year, so we’ll see what happens.”
• For all the latest Canaries news ahead of the game, watch The Pink Un Show on this website from 6pm this evening, with former Canaries keeper Scott Howie and Nick O’Brien from Proud Canaries the special guests joining host Michael Bailey