McClaren happy with QPR's resolve after collecting New Year's Day point at the Villa
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 January 2019
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Goals from Luke Freeman and Ebere Eze helped QPR draw at the Villans
Steve McClaren hailed Queens Park Rangers’ resolve after a 2-2 draw away to Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship.
The Rs made it five games without defeat in the league with the draw at Villa Park on New Year’s Day.
Tammy Abraham opened the scoring for the Villans after 21 minutes, before spirited QPR equalised through Luke Freeman just before half-time.
Ebere Eze gave the visitors a 2-1 lead, only for Abraham to come to Villa’s rescue with a 76th-minute equaliser.
McClaren said: “It was a great game of football and a great advert for the Championship with two teams fully committed.
“I was delighted with the performance of my players and they keep producing performances, especially away from home.
“I was proud of the players as it was a fantastic performance against a star team.
“They worked very hard for each other to give us a platform. The two goals were excellent and I feel we deserved the result.
“We are hard to beat and we are getting better with every game. It was a thoroughly good performance and in the last five games the lads have surprised me, showing great character and getting results.
“What also pleased me was that we scored two goals and could have scored more.
“The firepower Villa have should certainly propel them into the play-offs. They have the makings and the players to be up near the top.
“It’s a long season and I think Villa will get stronger, but I am just delighted by what we are doing.”
Villa boss Dean Smith commented: “It was frustrating as we know it was a game we should have won.
“After Abraham’s first goal we fell away when we should have capitalised upon it.
“We lacked a bit of quality although the players showed a lot of character.
“It was a game which got away from us when we should have won - at 1-0 we should have kept the pressure on QPR.
“Probably the four games in 10 days took their toll on key players like John McGinn and Conor Hourihane. Their quality was not as good as it usually is.”
It was a solid start to the New Year for McClaren and his QPR squad, who will be looking to build on that over 2019.