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QPR manager McClaren felt absence of Massimo was a factor in Reading stalemate

PUBLISHED: 18:39 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:39 29 December 2018

Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren (pic Andrew Matthews/PA)

Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren (pic Andrew Matthews/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

QPR manager Steve McClaren admitted his team initially struggled in the absence of Massimo Luongo in their 0-0 draw with Reading.

Massimo Luongo of Queens Park Rangers (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Massimo Luongo of Queens Park Rangers (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Already without injured midfielder Geoff Cameron, McClaren might be without Luongo for as many as seven matches because of his involvement for Australia in the Asian Cup.

Jordan Cousins replaced him alongside Josh Scowen in midfield and Rangers looked disjointed in the first half.

McClaren said: “It was a game of two halves. They dominated the first half and it took us a while, with Luongo going out, to adjust with Jordan and Josh in there.

“We couldn’t quite get the press on Reading and they had too much possession, but we sorted that out at half-time and in the second half we were excellent.

“I thought in the second half Josh and Jordan were very good and were instrumental in us just getting a bit of front foot – a bit of pressure on Reading.

“Once we did that and got about them we created chances. We’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t win the game, because in the second half we certainly had the best chances.”

Rangers defender Toni Leistner twice fired against the bar at Loftus Road, where the home side finished the match strongly.

They were unable to secure a fourth consecutive win despite a rousing finish and a decent shout for a penalty after Nahki Wells went down under a challenge from Andrew Rinomhota, but they have kept three successive clean sheets, remain eighth in the Sky Bet Championship table.

And McClaren is more than happy with their progress, adding: “I don’t think many teams win games on the bounce. In the Championship, it’s so hard.

“That’s our third game in seven days and I thought in the second half we were strong. I’m delighted about that.

“It was also another clean sheet. We were keeping clean sheets before, stopped doing that and needed to get back doing it.”

Reading boss Jose Gomes felt his side looked far from relegation strugglers at Loftus Road, saying: “If you just watched this match, nobody could say we are at the bottom of the table, so beautiful they played and with fantastic confidence.

“I enjoyed the courage my players showed. The feeling is that we lost two points.”

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