Marti Cifuentes: QPR boss inspired by NBA, handball and hockey.
Queens Park Rangers’ manager, Marti Cifuentes, reveals his diverse sources of inspiration, drawing insights from basketball, handball, and hockey to enhance his skills as a football manager. Having taken over from Gareth Ainsworth on October 30 after QPR’s six consecutive Championship defeats, Cifuentes has secured five points in his initial four games.
Expressing his admiration for the NBA, Cifuentes acknowledges the excellence of coaches and players in the league, finding inspiration from various sources beyond football. The 41-year-old Spaniard, who previously managed Hammarby in Sweden, emphasizes his open-minded approach, seeking knowledge from literature, diverse industries, and particularly sports, as the fundamental principles of football often align with those of other sports.
Cifuentes highlights the learning he gains from handball, noting its similarities with football, especially in attacking low and compact defenses. Additionally, he mentions his connections with grass hockey, where he engages with coaches from the Bundesliga and the Spanish national team, recognizing the shared aspects between these sports and football. This approach allows him to continually learn and be inspired by various perspectives.
Following his first win as QPR boss against Stoke City, Cifuentes anticipates a challenging match against Preston North End, emphasizing their rough and direct playing style. QPR currently sits third from the bottom in the league, six points from safety. Cifuentes expects a strong reaction from Preston, who suffered a 4-0 defeat against Middlesbrough. Aware of their opponent’s skills in playing direct football and counter-attacks, Cifuentes emphasizes the need for QPR to perform well and be cautious, anticipating a game more akin to their draw against Rotherham than their match against Norwich.
Looking ahead, Cifuentes acknowledges the significance of building momentum in the league by securing consecutive victories, recognizing the team’s need for 10 or 11 more wins to ensure safety. The manager’s varied sources of inspiration and adaptable mindset contribute to his strategic approach and continuous improvement as a football manager.