McClaren hails Bright start from QPR as Osayi-Samuel nets in cup win over Rovers
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Rs beat Gasheads to reach third round of Carabao Cup
Steve McClaren believes Queens Park Rangers’ good start against Bristol Rovers is what secured them safe passage through to the third round of the Carabao Cup.
The Rs beat the Gasheads 3-1 to progress in the cup, with Bright Osayi-Samuel, Pawel Wszolek and Matt Smith on target for the west Londoners.
The goals from Osayi-Samuel and Wszolek arrived in the first 20 minutes of the game as QPR took an early grip on proceedings.
And McClaren believes the performance from his side early on is what won them the game against Rovers.
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“I think in the first 20 minutes we won the game,” said the 57-year-old.
“Credit to the players and the staff. (Coaches) John Eustace and Matty Gardiner got the players ready on Monday for the game, and the first 20 minutes we got in control with the two goals.
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“It was a difficult game: 11 changes, a lot of youngsters coming in and Grant Hall played his first game in a year.
“There were a lot of pluses, the result being one and the performances of some of the players being another.”
One of the changes for QPR saw Pawel Wszolek, normally a winger, come into the side in central midfield.
It was an experiment that did not seem to work, with the Poland international not at his best in the middle of the action.
McClaren, however, praised the 26-year-old’s display out of position, and again hailed the work of his coaches in getting Wszolek ready to play there.
“John and Matty did a lot of work yesterday in terms of the team, the shape and the organisation,” he added.
“It was unusual for Pawel to be in there, even Jordan Cousins working in there as a two, but I thought they did an excellent job with Grant Hall and Alex Baptiste behind them.”
The game saw Hall make his first appearance for QPR since playing in an FA Cup third-round defeat at home to MK Dons in January.
And McClaren was pleased to be able to call on the centre-back for the first time this term.
“Grant can defend in both boxes, which is important,” said the former England boss.
“He’s a leader, he’s a talker, he’s experienced and he can come out and play.
“That’s something we need in our team, but the important thing is he came through 60 minutes.”