Warburton praises QPR character in win at Cardiff

Cardiff City's Sheyi Ojo and QPR's Ilias Chair battle for the ball

Cardiff City's Sheyi Ojo and Queens Park Rangers' Ilias Chair (left) battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium - Credit: PA

Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Warburton praised his side’s character and the way they stood up to Cardiff City to secure back-to-back wins in the Championship.

Warburton had Seny Dieng to thank for keeping the match goalless at half-time after saving well from Perry Ng’s 20-yard effort before quickly getting back to his feet to keep Bluebirds captain Sean Morrison out from the rebound with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes.

Charlie Austin then went close twice, including having a goal disallowed for a high foot, in the second half before being replaced by Macaulay Bonne.

Bonne had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds, when he received the ball from Ilias Chair and he squared to Chris Willock to score the game’s winning goal with 20 minutes to go to ensure back-to-back away victories for the first time since September 2019.

While the win eases relegation concern for QPR and moves them seven points away from the drop zone and into 17th place in the table, the result condemns the Bluebirds to a sixth successive defeat in all competitions and puts more pressure on manager Neil Harris as they slide down to 15th, 13 points off the top six.

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“I'm really, really pleased. It's a tough place to come,” Warburton said.

“They're a good team and are very good at what they do. We knew they'd had a rough run of late.

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"We knew we had to meet the challenge and the longer the game went on we knew we had a good chance of the three points.

"To come here against a team like this means of course we have to keep building.

"In this division any run of form means you can move up the table pretty quickly.

"Neil did a great job to get to the play-offs last year and it's a tough, tough division. You can lose one or two players and get a run of defeats. Neil is a very good manager and he's got a very good squad. 

"I've no doubt they will be higher up come the end of the season - he just needs time. It's a commodity managers and coaches are never given, but he needs time." 

And Warburton was also full of praise for goalkeeper Dieng and goalscorer Willock, who fired home his first goal for The Hoops since arriving from Benfica last summer. 

The former Arsenal winger was only playing his first game since coming off the bench against Swansea City on Boxing Day and starting his first match since December 12 in place of the injured Tom Carroll, who is recovering from a knee operation for an injury sustained at Luton Town. 

“The double save in the first half from our goalkeeper was outstanding,” Warburton added. 

“He was reassuring and had presence. That will give the team so much confidence and it's another clean sheet. 

“(Willock) did really well, had good fitness, he’s creative, he comes alive in that final third and I’m really pleased for him and with the display tonight. 

“We need that, you need to have the options, we need to have strength in depth. The demands of this fixture schedule are so gruelling. You need to have the options, we had Albert Adomah we didn’t use tonight, George Thomas, the young boys. 

“We had some good variety tonight, it’s all about making sure we stood up, showed a little character and always pose an attacking threat.” 

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