Warburton thanks QPR fans after final home match in charge

QPR manager Mark Warburton applauds the fans after their defeat against Sheffield United

QPR manager Mark Warburton applauds the fans after their defeat against Sheffield United - Credit: PA

QPR manager Mark Warburton thanked the club's fans for the reception they gave him in his final home match in charge.

Charlie Austin put them in front against Sheffield United on Friday, but the Blades hit back as Iliman Ndiaye levelled, before Jack Robinson put the visitors ahead.

Conor Hourihane's injury-time goal sealed a 3-1 win to leave them on the brink of the play-offs, but a horrendous run of results has cost Rangers a play-off place - and Warburton his job.

He is not being retained when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Warburton said: "The crowd have been fantastic. It's very gratefully received and never taken for granted.

"For three years they've been outstanding. The support they've given us has been first class throughout and I can only speak with the highest praise for QPR fans.

"A manager's job is to leave a club in a better place. I'm very happy with the reception from the fans and the comments that they've made which suggests they are happy with the progress made."

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Warburton expressed some frustration that his players only heard about his axing when it was announced by the club on Thursday.

"The first people who should have found out should have been the players," he said.

"Myself and the staff have a very close relationship with them. They have to be shown respect and trust and they reciprocate.

"So it's very difficult when that comes out. There were a lot of phone calls last night, which you have to try and fend off but you also have to be honest with them.

"It was difficult. I'm not going to lie. But it's football and we have to learn from it and we have to move on. That's gone now."

"Big win. Big performance," said Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom.

"We looked a good side in the first half but not like winners. We controlled the game but weren't ruthless. QPR got in our box twice and ended up scoring.

"It's about what happens in both boxes. Everything that happens in between is propaganda, isn't it? Fluff.

"We want to pass the ball and move it quickly. But we want a group of players who can score at one end and keep clean sheets at the other.

"We needed more and we got it. It was a good win and a good fightback."