Enzo Maresca, the manager of Leicester, emphasized the importance of maintaining their performance after securing a 2-1 victory against QPR in the Sky Bet Championship. The Foxes currently hold a comfortable lead at the top of the standings, sitting five points ahead of second-placed Ipswich and 14 points clear of Leeds. This puts them on track for an immediate return to the top flight, a significant achievement in Maresca’s debut season as coach. However, the Italian coach issued a warning against complacency, acknowledging that it is still only October.
“We have one crucial concern: it’s still early in the season. My goal is for us to be in the same position in February, March, and April,” Maresca stated. He emphasized that a drop in intensity could lead to defeat, regardless of the reasons behind it. The team is aware of this and constantly reminds themselves of the importance of maintaining their focus and effort. Maresca highlighted how crucial it is to maintain intensity while facing challenging opponents, such as QPR, who have suffered five consecutive defeats prior to their encounter. He emphasized that a lack of intensity could result in an unexpected loss.
“Consistency in intensity allows us to win more games than we lose,” added the Leicester manager. He praised the players for their exceptional work both on and off the ball, acknowledging their remarkable dedication and open-mindedness.
The match saw Stephy Mavididi open the scoring after 30 minutes, but Andre Dozzell equalized shortly before half-time. However, Dozzell’s involvement was short-lived, as he received two quick yellow cards in the second half for a foul and subsequent reaction, resulting in a sending off. Despite QPR’s determined efforts, Leicester capitalized on their numerical advantage, with Harry Winks scoring the winning goal ten minutes from time. It was Winks’ first goal since joining the team from Tottenham.
QPR manager Gareth Ainsworth expressed frustration with his team’s “naivety” after experiencing their second consecutive red card. Abdul Fatawu provoked Dozzell, who reacted by raising his hand towards the Leicester player. The referee was left with no choice but to issue a second yellow card. Ainsworth considered the bookings and subsequent red cards as a result of “stupidity” rather than legitimate fouls. He outlined a plan that he believed was effective against the league-leading team, but emphasized the need for a full squad, especially when facing quality opposition.
“I thought we had some outstanding performances today. The game was evenly matched until Andre fell for Fatawu’s trick,” Ainsworth remarked. He urged Dozzell to learn from the experience and acknowledged that facing Leicester with ten men was always going to be a challenge. Ainsworth credited the opponents’ victory to a world-class goal.
QPR’s spirited performance alleviated some of the pressure on Ainsworth, who remains confident that they will avoid relegation. However, a defeat against fellow strugglers Rotherham in their upcoming fixture could increase scrutiny on his position. Ainsworth expressed pride in his team’s efforts, assuring that as long as they maintain this level of commitment, they will collect enough points to remain in the division.