Queens Park Rangers: Ian Holloway delighted Paul Smyth gamble paid off in win over Cardiff City
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 January 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Northern Ireland youngster marked suprise QPR debut with winner at home to Bluebirds
Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway admits starting Paul Smyth in the 2-1 win at home to Cardiff City in the Championship was one of the biggest risks of his managerial career, but was delighted it paid off.
The 20-year-old scored the winner on his debut for the Rs, netting in the 72nd minute in front of the Loft.
Smyth’s strike completed a fine comeback for QPR, who had to battle back from a goal down to win after Joe Ralls scored a penalty for the Bluebirds in the 54th minute.
Matt Smith equalised for the west Londoners in the 62nd minute, before providing the assist for Smyth 10 minutes later.
It was a sensational way for the young Smyth to announce himself to the Rs fans, and Holloway was thrilled the Northern Irish forward made the most of his chance.
“It was probably one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken, but if you keep doing what you’ve been doing and people are still missing chances, someone else deserves a go,” said the 54-year-old.
“It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t. He was a breath of fresh air and the balance in attack was right.
“We have been creating chances whoever has played, but sometimes the pressure builds on you as a striker and for me, it was time for someone else to have a go.”
Smyth’s start against Cardiff was a first appearance for the 20-year-old since joining from Northern Ireland Premiership club Linfield in the summer.
The youngster has had to bide his time for an opportunity, but made sure he did not waste it.
And Holloway says Smyth fully deserved to start against the Bluebirds, having been impressed by him in training.
“Paul has been a breath of fresh air since he’s been here, and you have to have legs up and around the big man,” he added.
“What I wanted was for Paul to link things as well; I wanted him and Luke Freeman coming off their two centre backs, but we didn’t quite get it right.
“He played a little too high, but we spoke about it at half time that I wanted Matt up the middle and two off of him, almost like two number 10s.
“Paul has the pace to do that. I thought he handled it brilliantly, caused them some problems and I’m delighted he scored.”
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