MARK Warburton is determined to instil a winning mentality within his squad – and the QPR manager says that can’t be achieved if you don’t approach every fixture with the same mindset.
As the R’s get ready for tonight’s game against Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, Warburton has confirmed he will be using his squad for the match – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in a cup run.
In the wake of QPR’s impressive start to the league campaign – a 2-1 win at Stoke City followed by a 1-1 home draw with Huddersfield Town – Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk: “The boys have done extremely well so far – a well-deserved victory at Stoke and on Saturday against another very good team we dominated the second half.
“Looking ahead to tonight, you can’t talk about developing a winning mentality and then go into a game and say, ‘it doesn’t matter if we win or lose.’
“For me, this is an invaluable game. We want to make sure we use our squad and go in there with a strong team with a focus on winning. It’s as simple as that.
“It is a fantastic competition and Wembley is at the end of it. Who wouldn’t want to compete as normal for that?
“We analyse the opposition and from our point of view will be as best prepared as we can.”
With 15 new arrivals over the summer and 12 departures, Warbuton’s new squad have settled well but he also believes progress in a competition such as the League Cup can be of huge benefit for those new faces.
“A cup run helps to bed in players,” he explained.
“It helps to build self-belief and confidence. Of course you worry about injuries and over-loading but for me a good cup run will give the team and the supporters much to cheer about and we hope very much we can deliver a performance tonight.”
Following this evening’s game with the Robins, the two teams will meet again – in the Championship – at Ashton Gate on Saturday, and Warburton admitted: “I suppose it will be a bit nip-and-tuck from the managers, the staff and the players but you have to go into it looking to win and we have picked a team with that aim in mind.
“You are at home, you have paying supporters and you want to deliver a good performance.”
Lee Wallace has moved closer to making his debut for the R’s after returning to full training this week, with Warburton explaining: “Lee is not ready yet but he is back training with the boys which is great to see, so a lot of credit goes to him and the medical team.
“Aside from Lee, we have got a full squad to choose from and we have to use it wisely.”
Jan Mlaklar (quad) and Matt Smith (ill) missed Saturday’s draw with the Terriers but they are fit and available for selection tonight.