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Hollloway happy with ‘new QPR’ despite defeat

PUBLISHED: 18:33 16 September 2017

Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway (pic: Scott Heavey/PA)

Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway (pic: Scott Heavey/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Queens Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway was satisfied with his team’s display in their 3-2 defeat at Championship rivals Middlesbrough.

The visitors twice took the lead at the Riverside, but saw Boro bounce back to claim victory and maintain their unbeaten home record and leave Rangers with just one point on their travels so far this season.

Holloway’s men made it extremely difficult for Boro and would have claimed a point had Pawel Wszolek found the net instead of the post in the closing stages.

Holloway said: “It was a fantastic game of football. As a neutral, that’s what you want to see. After our early goal, they moved the ball and we knew they would.

“To be fair, I am scratching our head how we lost it. You have to say it’s down to the changes Garry (Monk) made – they had that on the bench.

“It’s fine margins. We hit the post. Did the ball go out for their winner? That’s the new QPR. I thought they gave me absolutely everything.

“When this place gets going, it’s tough. Last time I was here I was unbiased, watching a couple of games when they got promoted. This year I saw my team at least deserve something, maybe a point.”

New signing David Wheeler put Rangers ahead early on, with Jamie Mackie restoring their lead at the start of the second half after Lewis Baker had levelled on 36 minutes.

Ashley Fletcher squared matters for a second time, though, and Britt Assombalonga dived to head his fifth goal since moving from Nottingham Forest on the hour to claim an important three points for the hosts, after a hard-earned point at Aston Villa on Tuesday, when Boro were reduced to 10 men, and last weekend’s 3-0 triumph at Bolton.

Boss Garry Monk said: “We are very pleased with the result in the end. First half QPR came with a plan to try to frustrate and slow things down.

“We gifted them the first goal and made it difficult for us. We didn’t affect the game how we wanted to. We were disappointed at half-time, and second half we changed a couple of things.

“That put us on the front foot but we made another mistake from an avoidable goal. Credit to the players to face those situations. We had a good 25-minute period where we got our lead and if anything we should have extended it after that.

“In account of all that, we have had a hard week. There is always a debate in my mind, that freshness, physical side of it... should you change things?

“But they deserved to play in that game. Credit to those that did. It’s an important trait to win when you are not at your best. We were clinical in the right areas at the right times.”

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