Players must take the rap
By Ben Kosky SKIPPER Gavin Mahon insists QPR s failure to reach the play-offs is down to the players rather than the incessant managerial turmoil at the club. With one game remaining, Rangers are 12 points behind the top six and have improved on last seas
By Ben Kosky
SKIPPER Gavin Mahon insists QPR's failure to reach the play-offs is down to the players rather than the incessant managerial turmoil at the club.
With one game remaining, Rangers are 12 points behind the top six and have improved on last season's tally by just three points - some way short of the progress they were expected to make.
Lack of stability in the dugout can hardly have helped, with Iain Dowie and Paulo Sousa both sacked after a matter of months, but Mahon believes the players must shoulder the blame.
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"We had the aim of getting in the play-offs and we haven't achieved that," observed the Rs midfielder. "This team's finished better than the previous season, but we should be higher.
"I said to Gaz [Ainsworth] the other day 'you could put anyone in charge of this team'. Because we've got a decent squad of players, whatever 11 we put on the pitch should be good enough to get a result.
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"There have been some good performances that stood out but we've also at times been inconsistent.
"In this league, every team you play are going to give you different problems and sometimes we've coped quite well, other times we haven't.
"I don't think injuries have helped us, but at times we haven't performed and, whoever's been in charge, we've let them down. As players, we have to accept responsibility for that."
Rangers could still finish as high as ninth - equalling their best league finish since relegation from the Premier League in 1996 - if they win at play-off hopefuls Preston on Sunday and Ipswich and Bristol City fail to collect three points.
But, irrespective of their final position in the Championship table, Mahon feels a positive result at Deepdale (kick-off 1.15pm) can help Rangers when they regroup and attempt to do better next season.
He added: "Once you can't mathematically go anywhere, you've got to start building for next year and it's always good to have a little run going into the following season.
"I had that at Watford where we finished the Premiership season quite well and after we came down, we were nine points clear by November.
"So it is important to go into the following season with a few good results behind you and we'll be looking to do that at a difficult place. Then we've got to have a good summer and make sure we come back stronger."
Caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth will take charge of the QPR side for what could be the final time, on the ground where he began his playing career - and where Rangers have not won since 1980 - but does not plan to give himself a run-out.
Ainsworth will be without midfield playmaker Adel Taarabt, who has ended his loan spell from Tottenham after tearing a knee ligament in training, while two other players may make their last appearances for the club.
Irish midfielder Liam Miller's short-term contract at Loftus Road is unlikely to be extended, while striker Samuel Di Carmine is returning to Fiorentina at the end of his year's loan.
Di Carmine netted a hat-trick for Rangers' reserves on Monday as they won 3-2 at Aldershot Town.