Barbet believes underdog tag is good for QPR ahead of tricky Stoke test

PUBLISHED: 22:00 02 August 2019

QPR defender Yoann Barbet (pic Nick Potts/PA)

QPR defender Yoann Barbet (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

QPR defender Yoann Barbet and manager Mark Warburton discuss their opening game against Stoke.

Defender Yoann Barbet believes QPR can use the underdog tag to their advantage heading into their opening Championship game away at Stoke.

The 26-year-old signed for the club this summer after failing to agree a contract renewal with west London rivals Brentford.

He expects Stoke to be a tough opening fixture but is hoping Rangers can surprise a few people now that the new look squad is gelling together.

"Maybe a lot of people expect us to lose, maybe (Stoke) themselves think it will be easy which is good for us," he said.

"It would be a great start winning away at Stoke.

"The first friendly games were a bit hard because when you have a lot of new players it's hard to know how your teammates play in front of you and next to you.

"I think we just increased game by game and I think the last game against Watford, even if we lost 1-0, we played really well and I think the defence are more confident with what we showed against Watford because it's a Premier League team."

Lee Wallace will remained sidelined with a hip injury for this Saturday's game but there are no other real concerns for manager Mark Warburton.

Geoff Cameron is still building up his fitness while new signings Jordan Hugill, Todd Kane and Marc Pugh are close to full fitness.

Warburton believes a perfect start would be ideal but is not going to panic if it does not happen.

He said: "You say about four straight defeats for QPR (last season) then you went on a really good run and I think you were seventh or eight in the league. I don't think you were far outside the play-offs.

"It's a 46-game season, you don't want to lose your first four games in an ideal world of course not but just how well you recovered last year over that 11-game period, I think it was, and you were in a good position so that's the nature of this league.

"You want a good start ideally but it's not the end of the world as QPR showed last season."

A key problem for the Rs last season was their defensive record but Barbet is hoping he and his fellow teammates can put that right starting against Stoke.

"We conceded a few goals in pre-season," he said.

"Making a mistake is how you learn so it's better to do it in pre-season in a friendly than in the league so we need to be a fortress at home, that will be the main thing for us.

"I try to add my defensive side and my quality on the ball to help the team to play from the back because this is what we want and then I need to show myself as a good defender.

"I think I still need to improve this way so I'm working everyday to do it and I hope we can be a good defensive side for all the team."

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