Mark Bowen says the feeling within the QPR camp is “literally fantastic” as the R’s prepare for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Everton.
Despite occupying bottom spot in the table, Mark Hughes’s No. 2 says he has been impressed by the attitude of the players during the break in fixtures owing to the international matches last weekend.
“Sometimes international breaks can be a bit of a bind because players enjoy having matches but with the way the season has gone so far, it was nice to get on the training pitch and really work with the players,” Bowen told www.qpr.co.uk
“We have done a lot of repetitive, defensive work. At times when you do that, the other players in the group can get a bit frustrated but the feeling within the camp has been great because they all understand and recognise where our problems have been.
“And it isn’t a case of just looking at the defenders, it’s everyone – we have to defend as a team. Going into Sunday’s game, we hope we will see that work come out in our performance.”
Owing to injuries across the backline, Hughes has been unable to field a consistent back four and Bowen – who enjoyed an 18-year career as a left-back – admitted: “It’s been a difficult time with injuries, particularly to the defence.
“I hate to keep going on about it but it has had an impact on us. At the moment we’re spinning plates and trying to get everyone back to the same level of fitness, which has been difficult.
“Look at Everton. I would suggest they’ve got six players who are used to make up their back four. They’ve got Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka, Johnny Heitinga and Leighton Baines. If Hibbert’s out, Seamus Coleman comes in, and they’ve got Sylvain Distin if one of the centre-backs get injured. And they’ve been playing together as a group for a couple of years. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which is massive.
“We’ve had a stuttering start to the season but we know we can come through it.”
The R’s may still be looking for their first league win of the campaign, but Bowen and the rest of the coaching staff have been taken aback by the feeling within the group ahead of this weekend’s fixture against the Toffees.
“What’s the mood like within the training ground? It has been literally fantastic,” Bowen revealed. “When I tell people that, they look at me quizzically. How can it be fantastic when you are bottom of the league? I hate saying those words! But the spirit really is that good.
“We have been in the game long enough to know that when things aren’t going well, you will hear players moaning about this and about that, moaning about training, moaning about their team-mates. I can tell you now, we have genuinely heard nothing like that from this group of players. Nothing.
“Yes, we know where we are. And we know why we’re there. But we believe in the fact that it is temporary. It will turn for us, I have got no doubts about that at all.
“Now we have to show some character, and Sunday’s game against Everton is huge.”