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QPR’s Matt Smith praises ‘essential’ Grant Hall

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 March 2017

Grant Hall of Queens Park Rangers. Picture: NIGEL FRENCH/EMPICS SPORT

Grant Hall of Queens Park Rangers. Picture: NIGEL FRENCH/EMPICS SPORT

EMPICS Sport

Matt Smith prefered to take the attention away from himself after scoring the opening goal in QPR’s 5-1 rout of Rotherham United – instead praising the work of “essential” Grant Hall.

Queens Park Rangers' Matt Smith has praised team mate Grant Hall. Picture: DAVE HOWARTH/PAQueens Park Rangers' Matt Smith has praised team mate Grant Hall. Picture: DAVE HOWARTH/PA

Smith pounced after just five minutes to send QPR on their way to another victory, their fifth in the last seven games.

But the striker, who joined the Hoops from Fulham in January, was quick to point at the contribution of defender Hall.

“It was a great collective effort from all the lads, but Hally was brilliant again,” Smith told www.qpr.co.uk.

“He’s probably going under the radar a little bit, but he does such a fantastic job.

“He goes about his business superbly every game and is incredibly efficient in what he does.

“He’s extremely effective for the team and whilst he might not get the headlines or the accolades, he’s an essential piece of the puzzle for us.

“We practice that role he plays and we practice it as a team, because it requires all of us to work in a certain pattern of play.

“All credit to him, because he’s been fantastic for us.”

Joe Newell hauled the Millers level on 13 minutes but Luke Freeman almost instantly restored Rangers’ lead.

And further strikes from Yeni Ngbakoto, Massimo Luongo, his first for the club, and Nedum Onuoha completed a day to remember at Loftus Road.

And Smith believes the performance, as well as the result, is an indication of the progress the Rs are making and the character of the squad.

“It was a five-star performance – no pun intended,” he said.

“You could see the winning mentality and the confidence breeding in the lads.

“I don’t think anyone can question our character at the moment.

“We’re showing mental strength in abundance, during what’s been a tough run of fixtures.

“We’ve handled ourselves extremely well.”

However, manager Ian Holloway can see some work is still required.

He said: “I didn’t enjoy the first half at all. We scored early and it looked like we thought we’d done enough.

“We didn’t move the ball sharply or press, but luckily we managed to get another goal and then the second half I was delighted with.

“In the end we got what we deserved, but we’ve got to keep going. Let’s hope we can get a group of players who believe they can win on a regular basis.

“At the minute, our stats are telling me that’s what we’re doing.”

They will be looking for that next win after the international break when they face two trips to the Midlands, against sides just ahead of QPR in the gaggle of mid-table teams.

Derby County are first up in front of the TV cameras on Friday, March 31, before they head to Aston Villa four days later.

Rangers’ next home game is on Friday, April 7 against Brighton & Hove Albion, again in front of a TV audience.

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