QPR boss Holloway hails ‘classy’ derby rivals

Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway (pic Barrington Coombs/PA)

Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway (pic Barrington Coombs/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

QPR boss Ian Holloway hailed arch-rivals Brentford as a “touch of class” after his side slipped to 2-1 defeat in a pulsating west London derby.

Goals in either half from Sergi Canos and Florian Jozefzoon were enough to clinch the three points after Idrissa Sylla had given Rangers hope with an equaliser just before the break.

The win moved the Bees to within a point of the play-offs but Holloway, who lost his mother two days before the game, was quick to praise the compassion shown by the home club.

Holloway said: “Sometimes football doesn’t matter. It’s about people, and all the Brentford players and staff made a point of passing on their condolences. They were a touch of class before, during and after the game.”

Holloway is happy with the direction his club are moving and added: “On the pitch we are getting there now and the boys are giving my everything. We are making progress.

“It was a ferocious local derby and we were on the wrong end of it, so it is about giving the other side some credit for their identity and pass-and-move approach, which causes you problems.”

He admitted Brentford were far stronger in the first 20 minutes, but added: “The longer it went on, the better we got.”

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A missed Brentford penalty, with Matt Ingram saving Ollie Watkins’ spot-kick after he wiped out the Bees striker only to escape with a yellow, was the turning point.

“The penalty save was huge. Should he have been sent off? I think he should but he then stood up, probably concussed, and made a wonderful save,” added Holloway.

“That gave us impetus to keep going, so then having to sub him scuppered my plans for what I wanted to do later on in the game, but we kept going and were determined in our own way.

“We haven’t got our own identity like Brentford yet but I am sure it’s coming and the young lads coming through are really exciting, but it’s just about getting balance right. We have not taken enough chances in games and those tiny margins of error have cost us again.”

Brentford boss Dean Smith said the win was “payback” after two late Rangers goals at Loftus Road earlier this season earned a draw.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m really pleased for the supporters who have stuck by us even at the start of the season when we were playing well but not getting the rewards. That was payback for the result earlier in the season,” he said.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half but not so good in the second when the game got niggly, they dropped deeper and we got a little frustrated.

“We were always a threat going forward with Sergi and Florian Jozefzoon so it was disappointing to go in level at the break because that was the only time Dan has had to make a save.

“These players are great to work with and deserve to be where they are in the league with two games to go. We want to be in the play-off places after the final game but it will be tough at Barnsley who are fighting for their lives.

“Our game management after half time was very good. The boys took responsibility and the leaders stood up and that’s what you want from your players.”

Smith felt the referee got it right when he chose to only book Ingram.

“By the letter of the law it was a yellow. Ollie was our designated penalty-taker but probably should have passed it on as we lost him at half time to a shoulder injury from that collision,” he said.

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