The livestreamed section of Michael Beale’s first QPR press conference yielded some interesting quotes on the roles of Ilias Chair and Chris Willock, whether new signing Jake Clarke-Salter will play in a 3 or a 4 at the back, and how the new training ground will help him select his playing squad.
We have all the key quotes from Michael Beale and Les Ferdinand here:
Who has inspired Beale the most in his coaching career?
MB: “Jurgen [Klopp] was a big unfluence when I was the U23s coach at Liverpool… the club and him were on the same page and you can see the success they’ve had from that.
“In my time at Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was a big influence… I wasn’t close to him but in terms of the way he carried himself around the building and the opportunities he gave to young players at the time was refreshing.
“Latterly, Steven [Gerrard] and Gary McAllister have been fantastic influences on me as men as well.”
Why did the board appoint Beale?
LF: “In the past when we’d got rid of managers we had a list of people who came in and wanted the job. This time we did it by data… Michael came out top of that list. We did our due diligence, spoke to quite a few… we whittled it down, the owners got involved and Michael was the unanimous decision for us.
“Looking at the squad we’ve always spoken about development… we can’t go out and buy the £10m player. We’ve taken frees, we’ve taken players at a little bit less… I think Eze is the best example of what we’ve done in recent times and made them better players… looking at Michael’s resume and what he’s done in the past we think he can bring that to us and get the best out of what we’ve got at this football club and the ones that come in the door after.”
What has Beale learned that equips him to be a head coach?
MB: “I’m very clear on how I want to play football and how it should look… communication is really important, understand it’s a management team, it’s not just myself… it’s about the club, the board, everything being aligned. That was a lot fo the discussions we had with QPR.
“I had a short spell in Brazil which was fantastic for me personally but it was the only time I’ve worked in a club where I didn’t feel things were aligned and that hit home to me even more. I questioned the board as much as they questioned me coming in [at QPR] which I think was important.”
Is Beale taking what Warburton started and running with it?
LF: “Yes. Mark did a good job here and moved the club forward… Mark came to the end of his contract and we felt we needed to progress and Michael we thought was the best choice to do that.
Is the new start at the Heston training ground key to the new era under Beale?
LF: “We’ve spoken about this for a long time and it’s taken a long time to come together, a new changing ground and everyone being on the same foot. It’s an important step.
“Michael’s come in to an environment where he’s got an eye on the 23s, an eye on the 18s, all the players are going to be here… It’ll be a fantastic facility when it’s finished. It’s not done yet but we’re all on the same site now and hopefully that will do the club well going forward.”
How does Beale feel about getting started?
MB: “I’m hugely excited by the opportunity. It’s going to be a challenge… in the last 12 to 18 months there’s been a lot of opportunities and this one felt different straight from the off. I know a bit about the club being a London boy so it’s nice to be coming home after so long outside of the capital. I looked at the squad last year, could I see myself in the squad, so there’s a little bit of what I believe in already. The discussions were very extensive over a short period of time… I just felt different about this one. I have to say Steven and Aston Villa were fantastic to me in that period as well which went a long way to making the transition smooth.
Was it a difficult decision to leave Villa?
MB: “It’s in a fantastic place, they’ve got great owners, they’re really backing it, it’s a very exciting time…. it was very difficult to leave Steven’s management team. He’s such a very decent human being, we had a strong partnership, we’ve always been honest with each other and I’ve always been honest that I want to be a manager or head coach one day… He was very very understanding…In terms of this season, the timing was good.
“Ultimately I have to go my own route, I wanted to be a head coach and I felt this was a wonderful opportunity for me at a really good time for the club moving into the new training ground.”
Will QPR’s style of play mirror Villa’s under Gerrard?
MB: “I think there’ll be slight differences. At the end of the day, Steven was the manager…. Each team’s very unique, we’ve got a unique squad and I need to get the very best out of them with the management team and everybody to get a really competitive QPR team on the pitch. That’s what I’ll be aiming to do… obviously give us some time,. let’s get started and you’ll see it in the season.”
Any loan deals for Villa players on the horizon?
“I’ve seen a little bit about that… I’m not guaranteed any favours from anyone… Aston Villa do have some very talented young players, so do the other clubs I’ve worked with, but it’s important we have players here at QPR who are invested in our future.
“Any of the players we would look to bring in on loan – is there an option for them to stay here in the longer term, have we got the right players in the right position in this club at the moment? QPR is not going to be a holding ground for players from other teams to develop but we are going to use the loan market as and when needed.
Last season’s play-off push fell away – what’s the aim for this season?
MB: The first two parts of the season were extremely positive. The team expressed themselves and became a dark horse to make the play-offs. Unfortunately Covid and injuries and different things impacted the second half of the season.
“Without being directly involved in that, the last 16 games only one team had less points than us, which I think was Barnsley who went down. No massive aims right now until we start working.
“What’s important is that we have to fight for every single point in the Championship to be competitive and we’ll see how things go. We’ve got a young squad with some very talented players and they would have learned a lot from last season.
“You’re hoping that with the energy of one or two players and a new management team can kick us on. We’re certainly looking upwards and not over our shoulder to start off with but I’m not going to make any big claims right now.”
Could we expect a system of 3 at the back?
MB: “I used [3ATB] quite a lot with Liverpool. It’s about finding a system that suits our players and gets our players on the ball in the right areas. With 5 substitutes in the Championship I think you’ll see more tactical changes from teams in games. The Jake Clarke-Salter signing gives us the flexibility between a 3 and a 4 and we’re excited about that. With young Jimmy [Dunne] and Rob Dickie we’ve got a really strong centre-half department with one or two young ones behind that.”
Could Chair and Willock be deployed in the same way as Coutinho and Buendia?
MB: “They’re the two players I looked at and thought, I’m very excited to come and work with you. They’re very similar to Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Ianis Hagi at Rangers. I’m looking forward to working with them amongst others.”
What’s the latest with Albert Adomah?
LF: “At the moment we’re in discussions with Albert. Hopefully we’ll come to a conclusion before pre-season starts in a couple of days’ time.”