QPR sent Steve McClaren packing on Monday after the Hoops lost 2-1 to fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers in what was the latest in a string of poor performances in 2019 – in fact, they have only won once since Boxing Day and their form chart is the worst in the league from the last 10 games.
The former England boss finally ran out of answers it seems, while the club hierarchy finally ran out of patience with him and the lack of points flowing. Now, with seven games to go, the R’s are in a bit of a pickle and will have to really pull it out of the bag to achieve a respectable finish to the season.
There have been a number of names linked with the vacant role and, while each will bring a different style and approach, there are five key things that absolutely must be done regardless of who takes the helm.
Despite what the table tells you, there are a number of quality footballers at Loftus Road although, admittedly, you couldn’t tell if you watched the defeat to the Trotters at the weekend.
Besides the fact that the result went against them, the clash was a frustrating one for the QPR faithful in attendance as their side sent the ball long repeatedly, despite the ability of the likes of Pawel Wszolek, Luke Freeman and Bright Osayi-Samuel to make things happen with the ball at their feet.
The likes of Eberechi Eze, who didn’t feature, can create something out of nothing and the next man who arrives at Loftus Road must make sure that he is getting the absolute best out of the current crop.
The aforementioned Eze and Osayi-Samuel are exactly the kinds of players who can drag you out of a tough spot just when things aren’t going your way. The former, though – an England Under-21 international – wasn’t called upon by McClaren even at 2-0 down.
Sure, there have been questions asked regarding the number 10’s application but, given his scope for development and license to do damage on the front foot with minimal defensive responsibility, there’s no reason why Eze shouldn’t be able to add to his eight goal contributions for the season so far.
And, considering QPR’s financial situation, the new manager will need to be willing to trust in some untested talents at Loftus Road.
Usual captain Toni Leistner, who was signed in the summer, was dropped for the clash with Bolton after some average showings and Luke Freeman was subsequently handed the armband.
There is uncertainty surrounding the futures of both players, with the former a reported target for Aston Villa and the latter linked with Leeds, while the fact that your captain can be dropped isn’t a great sign.
Whoever takes the wheel must identify a captain who can consistently start and get his teammates up for the clash.
Simply put, the defensive unit has been far from good enough and the goals they conceded to Bolton served as a damning reminder of how much work needs to be done on the training ground to shore things up.
Check out the below above to see football played as you’ve never seen it before… in a maze!
No matter how many goals you can score, if you don’t feel that you can keep a clean sheet then there’s only so far that you can be taken. Whoever takes the helm must sort that out.
QPR have dropped far too many points this season by conceding late goals through lapses in concentration. Giving silly free-kicks away just seconds from a positive result and generally switching off in the dying embers of proceedings are both reasons why the R’s find themselves in the bottom half.
In all fairness to McClaren, these are the sort of errors that you cannot legislate for but, nevertheless, there needs to be far more attention paid to paying attention at Loftus Road.