QPR boss hails Cats’ Premier quality

Didier Ndong battles for Sunderland at QPR. Picture by Frank Reid

Didier Ndong battles for Sunderland at QPR. Picture by Frank Reid

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QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hailed his team’s efforts, despite going down to a 2-1 EFL Cup defeat to Sunderland last night.

“Sunderland came with a very strong team and they showed Premier League quality late on,” said the Loftus Road boss after Paddy McNair’s brace won the day for the Black Cats.

“We knew a couple might run out of steam on 75 minutes and that proved to be the case.”

Sandro had given QPR the lead, and Hasselbaink, whose men had gone into the tie on the back of successive Championship defeats, added: “I’m proud of my players. It was a much-improved performance.

“I don’t like losing but if we are to lose to Premier League opposition, that was the way to do it, if you understand what I’m saying.

“If we are going to lose, it needs to be like this. With a gritty, hungry, honest and hard-working display.

“We showed that we are a good team. I’m proud of how we conducted ourselves. We were almost there tonight and I take a lot of positives out of the game, and not so many negatives.”

Ex-Spurs midfielder Sandro looked to have given QPR the chance of an upset, and Hasselbaink praised the powerful Brazilian, saying: “Sandro showed his quality with his goal.

“He’s still here and he’s still our player and he is pushing himself for a starting position.

“He ran out of steam because he hasn’t got enough games under his belt. He is nearing the fitness levels and the intensity we expect.

“He did very well. I’m happy with his performance.

“I asked him and the rest of the the players to give me selection problems for Saturday and that’s what they did tonight.”

Hasselbaink was delighted with debutant left-back Niko Hamalainen and Osman Kakay, who made only his second start.

“We believe in both Osman and Niko and I thought they were magnificent for 75 minutes,” said the former Leeds, Chelsea and Boro striker.

“A little bit of tiredness kicked in late on, but I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“They showed tonight that they not only have great potential, but that they can cope when they are called on now.

“I am sure the fans are pleased to see two young Academy players come through and show what they can do.”