JAMIE Mackie says QPR’s impressive performance against Chelsea on Saturday has strengthened the belief within the squad that they are capable of enjoying a successful season in the Premier League this term.
Rangers produced an excellent display against their West London rivals at Loftus Road and were unfortunate not to win the match, with Ji-Sung Park and Bobby Zamora both going close in the latter stages.
After a difficult start to the campaign, which saw Rangers lose 5-0 to Swansea on home soil, Mackie says the players are now developing a real understanding of one another.
“There is perhaps a bit more belief that we can match these sides,” he told www.qpr.co.uk. “We showed it last season at home and we really need to believe that now.
“That’s the best we have been in terms of our tempo.”
With a number of new arrivals over the summer, the R’s players have consistently spoken of the need for time to develop an understanding on the pitch.
A two-week break after our fixture at Manchester City was the perfect opportunity for that to take place. And it seems it was a chance that was firmly grasped.
“The lads have obviously worked really hard over the international break, and that gap in fixtures was probably a blessing in disguise for us,” said Mackie, who himself was away with Scotland.
“Good players can play well together, but knowing each other’s game is an important element. You need to understand where people are comfortable and where they aren’t.
“But more than anything, new lads need time to get used to the team shape and the demands the manager puts on his players.
“Every training session we have, the better and more organised we will be.”
Mackie began Saturday’s derby day on the bench but was brought into the action early when Andy Johnson was forced off with a knee injury on 33 minutes.
Speaking prior to Monday’s confirmation that Johnson has been ruled out for most of the season with an ACL injury, Mackie said: “First and foremost my thoughts are with AJ. You never want to see your team-mate, and your mate, come off injured like that.
“From a personal point of view, I was delighted to be involved. I felt really sharp in midweek for Scotland and felt good in training when I got back so I was really glad to get on.”
Mackie featured for Scotland against Serbia and Macedonia, and came back from the World Cup qualifiers chomping at the bit to feature against Chelsea.
“It was the perfect battle for me,” added the 26 year-old. “It was nice to go on up front and get a chance there.
“Speaking to the gaffer before, he said that I will get opportunities in that position and I just need to be patient. I have been, and hopefully I will get a few more chances. But if needs be, I can do a job in other positions as well.”
Despite having to initially accept a place on the bench at the weekend, Mackie realises the importance of having a squad with real strength – even if that means game time may be more limited for individuals.
“No player is ever going to be happy when he is not playing but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “We are trying to go forward as a squad, not just as a team.
“Julio Cesar came in and did fantastically well. And then you look on the bench and we’ve got Rob Green!
“And it’s not just what we had on our bench on Saturday, what about the players who didn’t even make the matchday squad? We’ve got top, top players who weren’t involved at all and that’s a really good thing for the club.”
Next up for QPR is the short trip to Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium on Sunday afternoon. A fixture which is particularly special to Mackie.
“It’s massive for me, I was a Tottenham fan as a kid,” he explains. “Hopefully on this occasion we can beat them, and then they can do well after that.
“It’s a great ground to play at, it’s like a bigger version of Loftus Road. There’s a great atmosphere there and the fans are right on top of the pitch so I’m really looking forward to it.
“Hopefully we can take confidence from the performance against Chelsea and try to get that first win.”