QPR defender Onuoha hopes to keep his spot for clash against former club Sunderland
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QPR defender Nedum Onuoha hopes his second-half performance against Spurs will secure him a starting spot when his former side Sunderland visit Loftus Road on Saturday.
Onuoha, 27, came off the bench at the interval against Tottenham and helped tighten up a defence which had conceded three goals in the opening 37 minutes.
Emmanuel Adebayor added a fourth on 65 minutes but Onuoha did his chances of securing his first league start of the season no harm with a solid display.
Speaking before the 1-0 defeat to Burton in the league cup, he said: “I’m looking forward to playing against them [Sunderland]. Last time they were at our stadium I didn’t actually play so I was disappointed.
“I played pretty much every game there under Steve Bruce and we finished 10th. That was a good year and I’ve got very fond memories of my time there – it’s a game I always look forward to.
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“It is a game where we will be looking to get the three points. I think anyone coming to our home ground will find it difficult provided we do the right things – I’m just glad it’s coming so soon.”
Onuoha is more comfortable at centre-back but, with manager Harry Redknapp ditching the 3-5-2 formation for a more familiar 4-4-2 system for the second half at White Hart Lane, he was used at right-back and was pleased with his performance.
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He said: “I think I did all right and the team did better in the second half, but we still lost the game unfortunately.
“I think we were more aggressive in our approach – we had a game plan at the start which we weren’t really following through. We started quite slowly and in this division you can’t afford to do that.
“In the second half we were better – I think they took their foot off the pedal a little bit but we were more involved in the game.”
Redknapp has stated that he will stick to the 3-5-2 formation after signing players to specifically play in that system.
Chile international Mauricio Isla is one such player, and Onuoha is confident the right wing-back will show his class in the weeks to come.
“Sometimes we were out of position in certain areas and so as a consequence out wide it was quite difficult for him – but he’s a good player,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was a formation thing – I just think we weren’t at it, from one to 11.
“I don’t know why that was the case. It is certainly not like us. But when you start poorly and go a couple goals down it is difficult to recover.
“There were a few individual mistakes and we need to learn as individuals that you can’t make those type of mistakes. I don’t know if it’s a wake-up call, it’s still only August. We’ve got to remain positive and carry on.”
The former Manchester City man has experienced plenty of highs and lows since joining the club in 2012.
Staying up on the last day of the 2012-13 season was followed by relegation the following season and, in May, he played alongside Richard Dunne at the heart of the Rangers defence which stood firm against Derby County, helping the Rs to secure their return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Onuoha believes the squad and attitudes in the changing room this time will bring about survival.
He said: “I was confident of staying up the season we went down but I’m especially confident this year, provided we do things the right way.
“Our fans are realistic. They know this season will have ups and downs. It was the same last year. We started the season really well and fell away a bit before coming back.
“It is just good to have another game so soon. It is a bonus that it is at our place because our fans can come and get behind us.”
Follow me on Twitter @RobBrennan82