McClaren warns QPR they are in relegation battle after defeat to Rotherham
PUBLISHED: 08:51 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:19 14 March 2019
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Rs beaten by stoppage-time goal from Millers' Semi Ajayi
Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren told his players they are now involved in a relegation battle in the Sky Bet Championship after losing 2-1 at home to Rotherham United.
Semi Ajayi’s header deep into injury time gave third-from-bottom United their first away league win of the season.
It also took them level on points with Reading and Wigan as well as dragging the Rs into trouble — McClaren’s side are now just seven points above the relegation zone.
Ajayi opened the scoring with 20 minutes remaining and struck again in the final seconds after Bright Osayi-Samuel’s 85th-minute equaliser appeared to have rescued a point for the hosts.
A recent win against Leeds United aside, Rangers have struggled badly since the turn of the year and this was their ninth defeat in 11 Sky Bet Championship matches.
“We’ve said to the players that we’re looking over our shoulder and need to pick up points,” said McClaren.
“We can see the 50-point mark and we need to get three wins very quick.
“The target has always been 50 points as quick as possible. After Leeds we said ‘let’s kick on and get them’ and we haven’t. We’ve collected one point.
“Since the Leeds game, which was only a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been poor.
“We should have kicked on. Instead, we’ve not. We now need to find the solution.
“We have no excuses. We thought we rescued a point, but we were poor
“Overall we had players not playing at the level and that’s our responsibility.
“We’ve had some highs this season and some good results, only two weeks ago, and incredible lows, and that was another one of them.
“It’s about how you react. We have to show character and we’re not making excuses.”
Rotherham boss Paul Warne was jubilant after seeing his team finally end their away drought.
Warne said: “It feels pretty amazing. I won’t underestimate how much it means to me and the dressing room. It was a big game for us.
“To take the lead and give it away, I was fearing the worst and thinking that if we lost this game now, it’d be horrendous.
“For us to come here and nick a goal so late means a lot. It was a really special moment for us. Any win is important, but this was extra special.
“There’s no disputing that it’s a dressing room with great character. They’re a great group.”
Ajayi’s brace took his goal tally to five in his past four matches and the Nigerian was outstanding throughout.
“He’s normally a centre-half but we’ve played him in midfield. He did well with both his goals and he was the difference between the two teams,” said Warne.
“With his physicality and the way he can get around the pitch, he broke up a lot of what QPR were trying to do and was influential in what we were trying to do.”