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Formation change was key to first Premier League win says QPR defender Steven Caulker

12:16 05 September 2014

Steven Caulker

Steven Caulker

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Steven Caulker played a major part in the Rs keeping their first clean sheet of the season against Sunderland on Saturday, and he believes the change in formation was key.

Harry Redknapp abandoned the 3-5-2 system that had resulted in back-to-back defeats against Hull and Tottenham, switching to 4-3-3 and being rewarded with a 1-0 victory at Loftus Road.

Caulker said: “We played a different formation last week [against Spurs], it was one we never quite got to grips with. The manager made the decision to change that and fortunately it paid off.

“A few of the boys have a good relationship with the manager. I’m not sure what was said, but the gaffer’s said he’s going to change it. He’s the man who made the decisions and we go by it.

“We were more solid with four at the back. I missed training the day before the game with the flu, and I got cramp early on but just dug deep. The spirit around me made it hard to come off.

“It is a big buzz. I think we played with a lot of heart and deserved the three points.”

Caulker is likely to be paired alongside Ferdinand again when the former Manchester United defender returns to Old Trafford for the Rs’ next match – and the 22-year-old is still getting used to playing alongside one of his idols.

He said: “It is always tough going there but we are playing them when they are not in such great form. We are confident if we play with the same togetherness as we showed then we can go and get three points.

“Rio and Ledley King were my two idols growing up. It is kind of surreal playing alongside him – it is a very good experience for me, I’m learning a lot off him.

“Off the pitch he is always talking to me and always instructing me – he’s got very high standards.

“On the pitch, with his composure, he is somebody I want to mould my game around.”

Caulker believes his form at QPR can lead to a recall to the England squad and is confident he will avoid a second relegation in as many seasons after going down with Cardiff in May.

He said: “The England manager can only choose a squad of 20 to 25 players. Unfortunately I’m not in that but my main focus this year will be to keep QPR in the Premier League and if the England call comes then it will be a bonus.

“I was at Cardiff last year, there weren’t as many big characters as we have got here. There are a lot of characters who have been through it – there are a lot with experience and I think that helps. There is a great spirit in that dressing room.”

Follow me on Twitter @RobBrennan82

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