This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
QPR boss Mark Warburton has defended his ever-changing team selections following the midweek loss to Portsmouth.
The former Rangers manager has used 22 players already this season, and has overseen a mixed start to the campaign with the R’s winning two and losing two of their opening five Championship games.
Warburton also watched his side drop out of the Carabao Cup at the second hurdle following a 2-0 loss at home to League One Portsmouth, having overcome Bristol City on penalties in their first outing of the competition, but he has defended his decisions.
Warburton said: “We made eight [changes in the previous round] and won, we made six at the weekend and won. I’m a bit bemused when I hear about Watford making 11 [against Coventry on Tuesday], other teams making ten.
“You’ve got a squad of players – so when do they play? When do these players play? If you don’t think they’re good enough, don’t have them in your squad.
“If they don’t play, then when they do come on people say, ‘Oh, he lacked match sharpness’. Well he hasn’t played for six weeks.”
Football is a team game and managing a sizeable squad is often an unenviable and impossible task.
It is Warburton’s job to make those types of calls and also to keep everyone in the squad as happy as he possibly can.
Cup games are usually the best opportunity to give fringe players a run out, and if the Londoners had picked up some better results it would be safe to assume that he wouldn’t be facing this type of criticism.
Additionally, the Championship is one of the most gruelling divisions around with 46 hard-fought matches on the fixture list throughout the season, in which players face trips all over England against some determined opponents.
It is imperative that Warburton does what he can to keep everyone fresh and injury-free, but also ensure that his charges are match fit so that they are able to be called upon when needed.
He isn’t going to be able to do that without making changes, so he has every right to defend his decision making.