Gav can get back on that bus
By Ben Kosky GAVIN Mahon believes QPR need a change of attitude next season to meet the expectations that will be heaped upon the club. Rangers owners have made clear their ambition to oversee a promotion challenge from a club who have floundered in the
By Ben Kosky
GAVIN Mahon believes QPR need a change of attitude next season to meet the expectations that will be heaped upon the club.
Rangers' owners have made clear their ambition to oversee a promotion challenge from a club who have floundered in the lower regions of the Championship - and below - for most of the last decade.
Mahon is familiar with the sudden transformation in a club's fortunes, having spent three years battling relegation with Watford prior to the arrival of Adrian Boothroyd.
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"I remember Adie's first words were 'get this season out of the way, then we'll get promoted next year'," Mahon recalled. "Everyone thought 'hang on a minute!'
"I'll never forget the first day we came back for pre-season, he had a room at the back of the training ground with 30-odd chairs in two or three lines and one at the front.
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"He sat at the front and said 'this is the bus to the Premiership, does anyone fancy getting on board?' He gave us that belief, even though we didn't have the best players and we had the confidence to keep doing what we were doing.
"As the season went on, we realised we could achieve something special. That's what we need at QPR - we've definitely got the talent, we just need to have that belief.
"We all know what needs to be achieved at this club and I've said the squad of players we've got here is better than the squad when Watford got promoted."
And since his move to Loftus Road at the turn of the year, the combative midfielder has noticed a mental fragility that manifests itself all too often in the QPR side.
Rangers have surrendered a total of 10 points through last-minute goals since Luigi de Canio took charge and, but for their inability to defend a lead, might well have been able to mount a genuine play-off challenge.
"Half-time in the game against Burnley summed it up for me," said Mahon. "We were 2-1 up at home and the lads' heads were down. I was thinking 'this shouldn't be happening after we've played 40 minutes of good football'.
"We've talked about fitness levels and concentration, which maybe we need to work on, and belief we can pull a result through. Even when you're not playing so well, you have to be hard to beat.
"We want teams coming off the pitch knowing they've been in a game and maybe that means experienced players taking more responsibility to keep the youngsters going.
"Whether it's ugly or scrappy, just see the game out and move on to the next one. If we go one down, it's not the end of the world and that's the mentality we need to get through to all the players."
If Mahon can help to bring that change about, his one-season love affair with the Premier League could yet be rekindled in a Rangers shirt.