QPR season preview: Mark Warburton’s thoughts on squad changes and the upcoming campaign
PUBLISHED: 09:30 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:28 02 August 2019
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QPR manager Mark Warburton’s thoughts ahead of the new Championship season.
It's been a summer of huge change at Queens Park Rangers.
No fewer than 14 new players have joined the club, which could soon be 15, including the season-long loans of Luke Amos and Jordan Hugill and the permanent signings of Marc Pugh, Yoann Barbet, Dominic Ball and Lee Wallace.
But it has also been a transfer window which has seen star man Luke Freeman leave for Sheffield United and Darnell Furlong go to West Brom, while Massimo Luongo is also still expected to depart.
The squad overhaul leaves QPR fans not really knowing what to expect from their new look side.
Encouraging pre-season performances against Watford and Oxford United have given some cause for optimism and boss Mark Warburton insists that despite the risks involved, significant changes were what was needed.
"Risk and reward is something I'm familiar with," he said.
"You look at a situation whatever line of work you're in and say do I go softly softly here or do we really throw a hand grenade in and keep it fresh.
"We discussed at length with Lee Hoos and Les Ferdinand and I think we all agreed that we had to do some radical surgery and we've done that.
"14 is a huge number, maybe 15, it's a huge number of players and as you quite rightly say there's risk associated with that but it was the right time for the club."
The Rs finished a disappointing 19th last season having slumped to seven defeats in a row through January and February.
Along with Freeman, last season's main goalscorers Nahki Wells, Tomer Hemed, Matt Smith and Paweł Wszołek will also not be at the club, meaning Warburton's attacking signings know they must fill that gap.
The agreement of a Financial Fair Play settlement of almost £42m a year ago has left the club in a difficult position but Warburton believes the future is a bright one.
He added: "They have probably underperformed for the last couple of seasons so I knew what to expect.
"I love the words from the owners, from the CEO and Les Ferdinand. It was positive, it was about a vision, it was about long-term planning and all the right boxes were ticked.
"I keep being told that surviving in the division is success at QPR this season because we've got one of the smaller budgets and all these various comments.
"That's fine, but the players are professional athletes, professional competitors who want to do the best they possibly can for the club."
Rangers fans will be hoping their side can steer clear of the relegation zone and have a comfortable season but the manager says it is important not to look too far ahead.
"I knew what Loftus Road can be like when the football is good and they're enjoying successful times," he said.
"I know that many fans have been brought up on a successful style of football with the coaches they've had here so it's a very expectant fanbase.
"I'm just worried about QPR and going into every game best prepared. If we do that and we get the belief among the players, things need to go your way as well that's the nature of the industry we're in, then we'll be in a good place.
"If you can put a run together, 3 or 4 wins on the trot, you find yourself in a good position.
"The aim has to be to go into every single game the best prepared as you can possibly be and to deliver the best possible performance you can.
"No manager will sit there and say 'we will finish here'. What we have to do as I say is make sure we are best prepared in everything we do."
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