McClaren hails ‘small step’ as QPR return to winning ways at Reading
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Rs triumphed at Royals thank to Toni Leistner’s first goal for club
Queens Park Rangers boss Steve McClaren revealed a frank exchange of views between his players led to an improved display during their deserved 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win at Reading.
The Rs dominated the first half, but both Jordan Cousins and Nahki Wells wasted good opportunities.
QPR skipper Toni Leistner grabbed the winner in the 64th minute — his first goal for the club — after a melee in the home area.
Yakou Meite struck a post late on for Reading, but the hosts were mainly disappointing throughout.
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The west Londoners lost 3-0 at Swansea City in their previous fixture, which prompted the players’ meeting.
“We were very disappointed at Swansea, it was never a 3-0 game,” McClaren said.
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“The players knew that, but you still have to go out and prove it. And they did that tonight. Credit to them.
“They got together after the Swansea defeat, we all did. And there were a few home truths told.
“The players sorted it out and they were ready to play at 8pm tonight.
“I said that the first 10 minutes were going to be huge for us and that was so important.
“We were so good in those 10 minutes in terms of the aggression that we showed, our courage to play and our control in possession.
“It’s a small step and we’ve got to take another one on Saturday at home to Derby County.
“With our opportunities, we were disappointed that it was still 0-0 at half-time.
“These games are normally won at set-pieces and we eventually got there.
“It takes a certain character and resilience to win away from home and I think the players have now demonstrated that.”
Reading have now lost five of their six home league matches this season.
“I’m not happy with the performance, even if we had nicked a draw at the end,” Paul Clement, the Reading manager, said.
“I still would have been disappointed at the way that we played.
“We started off the season poorly, then we made some improvement.
“But, at the moment, we’re a team that has gone from not being very good to making a forward step, then a backward step. Then a forward step, then a backward step.
“We’ve got to make the next progression with this team. We’ve got to find consistency, especially at home.
“Our home form is dreadful. Five losses out of six is not good.
“Away from home, we’re battling away. I think that maybe we’re more concentrated away from home.
“You know it’s so tough there, you’ve got to get the fight right and you’ve got to get the tactics right.
“Against QPR, it just wasn’t a good situation.”