Massimo Luongo is pivotal to QPR, admits Ian Holloway
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 December 2016
QPR manager Ian Holloway has hailed the qualities Massimo Luongo brings to the table, stressing how crucial the midfielder is to his first-team plans.
Rangers have averaged 1.72 points per game when the Australian has been in the starting XI, and just 0.6 a game without him.
And the Rs boss has made no secret of how much he admires the former Swindon man - who he says QPR are a weaker side without.
He told the Times: “He’s a wonderful footballer. He wants to get on the ball, he wants to move it and he’s always in the right place at the right time.
“He’d have been in my team on Saturday [against Ipswich] if he hadn’t been ill. He ended up playing centre half in training at one point this week and didn’t look out of place. He’s a fantastic boy. I brought him off [against Norwich] at 2-0 in a funny way to see what we were like without him.
“I threw [Olamide] Shodipo on to have a go at them to see if we could kill the game off and get another goal.
“But what I soon realised is how bad we are without him,” he joked.
“Sometimes you do things to assess where you are quite quickly. It’s about the team understanding their roles. There’s one or two things that I really must hit home to them, they haven’t got it yet but they are getting there.”
Holloway’s men host Wolves tonight (Thursday), kick-off 7.45pm and, while the 53-year-old heads into the game in buoyant spirits, he says the club must lose their ‘fear factor’ if they are to push up the table.
“I must say I was alarmed by how we reacted to conceding against Norwich and Ipswich, it went so quiet and we lost so much confidence,” said a frank Holloway.
“There was a fear factor everywhere –and we’ve got to get rid of that. Losing is part of getting better and improving, if you’re brave enough and if you believe in yourself more.
“You can lose well and you can lose poorly. We lost poorly last week. We forgot to do the basics and if it wasn’t for Alex Smithies we’d have conceded three more.
“There’s been a lot of nerves around the team in the first couple of games.What you need in the squad is a balanced team, and we haven’t quite got that yet.
“What I’ve come up with is a system which will suit them. I can’t play the way I did at Crystal Palace and Blackpool – I haven’t got that power and pace out wide.
“We have got a magnificent amount of skill in the squad, though. What I’ve got to try and do is get that skill to shine. If you haven’t got a team shape you will struggle at any level, let alone the Championship.”
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