By Lucy Blitz

Queens Park Rangers have appointed Marti Cifuentes as their new head coach following Gareth Ainsworth’s dismissal.

After six straight losses for the Championship side, Ainsworth was shown the door off the back of last weekend’s defeat against Leicester at Loftus Road.

But who is his replacement, and what can he bring to Rangers?

The 41-year-old arrives from Swedish side Hammarby following a successful two-year spell in which the Spaniard revitalised the club and led them back into European football.

Cifuentes was highly sought after in his early days as a manager and had offers from China and South America.

But with sights set on Europe, he embarked on a Scandinavian coaching journey, taking on stints at Sweden’ AIK Fotboll, Norway’s Sandefjord, and Denmark’s Aalborg.

On his return to Sweden, Cifuentes signed a three-year deal with Hammarby who went on to finish third in Allsvenskan’s 2022 season, thus qualifying for the 2023/24 UEFA Europa Conference League.

Navigating a difficult first transfer window with the Swedish side, Cifuentes maintained an impressive record to avoid ‘second season syndrome’ and lost just one of his final 12 games in charge.

With a keen focus on academy players, the Championship side will welcome a manager who prioritises development.

Cifuentes reduced the average age of Hammarby’s squad from 28 to 24 during his time with the club, a stat that QPR’s board will relish as the side look to escape their relegation battle.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Chief Executive Lee Hoos said: “Having a succession plan in place is a necessary part of football, irrespective of how the team are performing.

“Marti is someone we have been aware of, so we are really pleased to have been able to secure his services.”

Pending the approval of a work permit, the Spanish manager will take charge of the R’s in time for their crunch clash against fellow strugglers Rotherham United on Saturday.

QPR sit 23rd in the Championship and will hope that Cifuentes can inspire a change in fortunes as they look to avoid dropping into the third tier for the first time since 2004.