'Not his issue' - QPR boss defends ex Chelsea star but slams issue that is 'not getting better' vs Bournemouth

QPR were undone by a rampant Bournemouth side in the second half of the FA Cup tie with set pieces again a weakness.
The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)
The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)

QPR manager Marti Cifuentes has defended veteran shot-stopper Asmir Begovic after his side once again were undone by set plays in Saturday's FA Cup clash with Bournemouth.

The Championship strugglers were raring for a giant-killing in the first half, going in 2-0 up at halftime thanks to goals from Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes, but capitulated after the break to lose the third-round clash 3-2. Two of the goals conceded by the Hoops were from set plays, a weakness which Cifuentes has spoken publicly about in recent weeks.

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Speaking to the media after crashing out the cup in painful fashion, the QPR manager said: "You don't need to be a genius, you just need to look at the stats. Since I've been here, 15 goals conceded and 10 of them are from set pieces.

"Set pieces are unfortunately part of the game - five goals conceded from open play in this time is a fantastic standard and shows a team who has good organisation and is working well with good balance between the way we want to attack and defend. Set pieces have been an issue for a while and we are not getting better. It's always this balance in football, you want to improve things but the more you focus on it then it can become an issue mentally. We need to find a good balance."

Cifuentes was not afraid to single out Armstrong as being at fault for losing his man in the lead-up to one of the Bournemouth goals, although did add his praise for the striker who turned in likely his best performance to date for the club when going forwards. Some may also point the finger at Begovic in between the sticks, who flapped at one of Alex Scott's dangerous corners.

The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)
The QPR manager said Asmir Begovic cannot take the set-piece blame. (Image: Getty Images)

The QPR manager defended the keeper, who played over 120 times for the Cherries in his four years on the south coast. When asked if the former Stoke City and Chelsea man could be held at fault, Cifuentes replied: "I hope I could make that simple analogy. I see your point but I think it's a combination of factors. The fact we are conceding goals in set pieces is more than just the keeper. I think that Asmir is a very experienced keeper.

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"He is a leader and wants to take extra responsibility so is assuming more risk than he should. I think it's a combination of things - I mentioned Sinclair as an example of a lack of concentration sometimes, despite a very good game. I don't like to point individually. This is a team task. I don't think it is a keeper issue."