This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
QPR’s shocking defensive record continued against Middlesbrough on Saturday, and if Mark Warburton doesn’t address the issue soon it threatens to send them further down the table.
Their current winless run sits at four matches, but an alarming 30 goals conceded this season, due to a variety of factors, means they are not achieving the results their performances sometimes warrant.
The game against Boro was an example of that. Warburton’s side dominated with 61% possession and 14 shots, but two lapses in concentration cost them dear, and at the moment that is what is separating them from the top sides in the division.
It doesn’t seem to just be an individual problem either, with two of the team’s top performers in Ryan Manning and Nahki Wells costing goals at the weekend.
Warburton has to focus on preparing his players in the right manner, and that means getting their mentality right ahead of matches, not just ensuring that they have an understanding of what instructions they have to abide by.
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Interestingly, the expected goals (xG) table suggests QPR could have expected to have conceded eight goals less than they have, which would indicate that they have been slightly unlucky.
That could also suggest that it is individual mistakes holding back the R’s, as if they eradicate those errors from their game they will be much better-placed to keep clean sheets, since they would only have to worry about the opposition, rather than themselves.
The fact they have conceded two or more goals for eight consecutive games show this is not a problem that is going to go away, and since it is costing them points they can forget about any play-off ambitions while it lasts.
It would seemingly have no easy fix, although a better understanding between teammates could increase the awareness they have of potential dangers, making events like Wells’ backpass to Britt Assombalonga last weekend completely avoidable.