Tommy Smith: QPR have ‘nothing to lose’ in the Premier League
TOMMY Smith believes QPR must adopt a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude in the Premier League next season.
The Rs striker is set to return to the top flight for the third time – and with his third club – after his injury-time strike finally defeated Watford to seal Rangers’ promotion from the Championship on Saturday.
All three of the 30-year-old frontman’s previous Premier League stints have ended in relegation, at Watford in 2000 and 2007, and with Portsmouth last season.
Barring what appears an unlikely points deduction relating to the Alejandro Faurlin hearing, Smith now has a fourth crack at the big time with QPR.
And having helped his side to a remarkable 24 wins from 45 games to seal top spot, he is adamant that he and his team-mates must show no fear as they bid to secure their stay in the top flight next season.
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“I don’t think [the Premier League] is a harder league than it was, I think it’s more even,” said the Rs striker. “A lot of the teams in the bottom half are similar to the teams at the top of the championship.
“Certainly the top half of the table you can see there’s a bit of a gulf, but the likes of Blackpool who have gone in and done really well, shows if you don’t have any fear and just play, you can get results.
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“Certainly for us there’s a lot to look forward to. It [promotion] has been overdue. I think we’ve put a lot of pressure on ourselves over the last few games to get wins when we haven’t managed to do it, so it’s lovely to get three points, play well and seal our spot as champions,” said Smith, whose side’s promotion charge had wobbled in recent weeks after draws with Derby County, Cardiff and Hull.
“Did we ever think the wheels were coming off? No, we always know we’re a hard team to beat, we play well and we pick up points. Maybe we were doing it in patches rather than whole games, but I think a lot of that was pressure, and a lot of us are saying now it’s more relief than elation because it’s been overdue. Everyone’s delighted.”
Smith admitted he felt ‘mixed emotions’ at scoring against the club with which he spent many of the best years of his career, and he insisted that the Hoops’ defence, which has conceded only 30 goals all season.
“The league doesn’t lie, you can have cup runs and things like that, but over the course of a whole season it doesn’t lie,” he added. “We’ve just been very hard to beat, 25 clean sheets is immense, and that’s what wins you titles.”