QPR boss Warburton blames poor pitch for loss

QPR boss Mark Warburton looks on at St Andrew's

Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Warburton sits on a coolbox as he watches the match at St Andrew's Stadium - Credit: PA

Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Warburton blamed the poor state of the pitch in part for his side's 2-1 loss at Birmingham.

Charlie Austin opened the scoring for the visitors at St Andrew's, volleying home from Todd Kane's right-wing cross in the 44th minute.

But Stefan Johansen missed a one-on-one chance and Macauley Bonne wasted two opportunities, before Kristian Pedersen levelled with only eight minutes remaining.

Alen Halilovic then curled home Birmingham's winner from 20 yards three minutes later, securing their first home win in 13 games.

And a disappointed Warburton said: "I felt the pitch was really poor. It was tough for both teams, hence you didn't see a nice game of football.

"You saw balls being lumped forward because it was so hard for players to make good decisions.

"The pitch is dry, rutted and it's a really difficult playing surface for good players. For both teams it was very challenging.

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"But we had the one bit of quality in the first half when after a great ball in, Charlie put in a great finish.

"We were in control then and what we had to do was do the ugly side in the second half better than we did.

"Stefan Johansen had a huge chance to make it 2-0. That was the deciding moment.

"But he looked down at the pitch, it bobbled over when he would finish those nine times out of 10.

"Unfortunately we didn't defend the second phase very well (for the equaliser) and we let ourselves down in the last five minutes."

Regarding the state of the pitch, Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka added: "If the pitch would have been better since the start of the season we would have played a lot better and won a lot more games."

And for former Barcelona and Standard Liege midfielder Halilovic, 24, who joined on a free transfer from AC Milan in November to secure a first home win in 122 days, Karanka added: "We had a meeting last Thursday and I told him if he hand't played for his last clubs he couldn't blame his managers, he had to blame himself.

"He's a top player and if he's not performing as well as he can and if he's not in a better league or better club than us it's his fault, not the managers.

"He told me I was right and he showed me today he can do it. Today can be a turning point because we won from coming from behind, we won at home and we've had a lot of problems here since October, not winning a game."