DESPITE the inevitable disappointment of letting a one-goal lead slip, Ryan Manning was keen to take the positives from QPR’s trip to Sunderland on Saturday.
Rangers looked on course for their first away victory of the season after Idrissa Sylla’s 37th-minute header, only to be pegged back against the run of play on the hour-mark.
Manning – who replaced Jack Robinson in the only change to Ian Holloway’s side – shared the R’s frustration afterwards but believes a point in the North East is a positive one.
“It’s a little bit frustrating,” he told www.qpr.co.uk. “We got in front and were in control of the game.
“But I think it’s a good point in the end. We’ve gone up two places in the table so we’re moving in the right direction. To come away disappointed with only a draw from a trip to Sunderland shows what the squad is thinking.”
After an evenly-contested first 45 minutes, Sylla’s goal before half-time spurred Rangers on for a dominant start to the second period.
However, they were left to rue not making their dominance pay as Aiden McGeady struck the equaliser which would ultimately secure a share of the spoils.
Manning said: “Every team is going to have a spell during a game when they’re on top and it’s just trying to capitalise on that and get that second goal and put a bit of daylight between us.
“But we’re creating chances and, with a bit more luck and perhaps with a better final ball, we’ll start putting teams away.”
Manning lined up at left wing-back in place of Robinson, who was ruled out with a hand injury sustained in training, and was pleased to be given the opportunity.
“It’s unfortunate for Jack, he’s been playing really well,” Manning said.
“All of us are training hard, though, and ready to step in when called upon. Everyone knows what the plan is and what our identity is as a team. I think we’ve got a squad now where anyone can step in for anyone and do a job.
“Obviously I was happy to get my chance and get back out there.”
Unsurprisingly Manning wasn’t short of confidence, either, after helping Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s to crucial back-to-back wins over the international break.
“I think the international break came at a good time,” he said. “I went away and got two 90 minutes under my belt so fitness-wise I’m feeling good.
“It was nice to get two good results and things are going well on the international front.”
Next up now for Holloway's troops is another long trip on the road, with Bolton Wanderers the destination next weekend.
Manning believes they can go there full of confidence, adding: “I don’t think many teams are going to want to play us this season. I’m sure teams will come away and say we’re a difficult team to play; we’re in everyone’s faces and really put the pressure on.
“We’ll look forward to going to Bolton and hopefully, if we play like we did today, we can come away with all three points.”