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Riches to rags, beauty to beast, QPR crash at Cov - Report
at 21:05:55

Excellent on taking the knee, and tackling racism, but Rs can't let themselves be out-manipulated. Of course as a club our record is one we can be proud of, but we should still take the knee, shallow gesture or not.

I read your interview with Warbs and tbh he wasn't convincing on the defensive weaknesses. I'm sure they practice defending, but they clearly don't practice it enough or well enough. Surely there must be someone on the coaching staff with the relevant experience and if not get someone in. Teams with poorer squads than ours are frequently better drilled.
The end of the beginning – Column
at 14:00:02

Beautiful - Eb's first touch even more than Clive's writing. Good to be reminded of the racism that I'm sure is part of the backstory. So much to enjoy: the first touch, the ability to see a pass before most of us realise he's got the ball and the ability to not go past defenders, but mysteriously through them, materialising goal side.

As a team we will miss him enormously, not just for the beautiful stuff, but for being an outlet to desperate defenders and winning a steady succession of free kicks. Clive is right about the business model Rs must follow, but it will be tough for us next season, even with a few mill' to spend and Chair (Bettache anyone?) to come.

Reading this I could almost feel a little moisture in the corner of my eye - must be some dust.
Second half R's storm back with ten men - Report
at 12:05:29

That is just so dumb to be thinking about the play offs. Err, but actually the first thing I did after hearing the result was to check how many points we were off 6th place. As I said dumb!

The second thing I did was buy my ticket for Charlton, but inconsistency is our middle name, so now would be the time for a little flutter on Charlton, except of course I couldn't.

Clarke-inspired rally comes too late for QPR against Bristol City - Report
at 22:37:30

Good stuff, Clive. Yes the financial management is right (alas) but that doesn't explain why we were so lethargic for 90 minutes (I exaggerate, maybe 75) before springing to life. Or why we can't get a shot on target for God knows how long, or were afraid to pass the ball forwards for what seems like hours on end, or can't defend corners or crosses. Warbs is the right manager but what happens on the training ground that leads to this dull, lifeless 90 (or 75) minutes?? What are the rest of the coaching staff doing??
Do you want the options again? Always the same... Report
at 17:17:41

Spot on Clive. Direction of travel for the club is right. Warbs has done more right than wrong. How he manages this transfer window (+ the next, assuming the club don't pull the plug) is key to us continuing to improve. Getting another manager in would just be adding to the catalogue of bad decisions at the club.

But I just don't get why he can't get these players to mark effectively in our penalty area and look like they want to win the ball in 50:50 challenges, or even 60:40 ones. Even if he is the right man he should (with all the other coaching staff on the payroll) be able to make some progress in these areas. We may have a couple of players who aren't good enough, but Manning, Hall, Scowen (although he's out of favour) have shown in previous seasons that they can tackle and provide a bit of bite. It's one of the reasons I like to see Hugill come on as he will battle away in spite of his limitations (at least one attempt to get the 3 points for a drop goal in every match).

This frustrates fans as the team look half arsed and feeble, when we know fans would always want to see passion + commitment, sometimes (sadly) more than skill.
End of Term Report 18/19 – Strikers
at 17:18:17

Great stuff Clive, agree almost completely, esp re Eze. Part of his problem is he looks too casual, so when things don't come off he seems more culpable than a real tryer. We'd always forgive Jamie if he things didn't work cos he ran his balls off.

Although Maclaren has to take the blame, (26 starts straight off!) I worry that the club set up don't know how to manage youngsters. If Warbs makes the same mistakes with Chair who is going to tell him??

Have a really good + well deserved summer holiday.
Back to life, back to reality – Report
at 16:17:38

Think you've done well there Clive to keep the F word count down! I've supported Rs for 40+ years now so will renew my season ticket, but I probably will when the world's reduced to a desert and Rs are playing with jumpers for goal posts on the Scrubs. Think it's called fatalism. And also that feeling that once in a while the Rs do something magnificent, usually when you least expect it. In other words we'll beat Frank Lampard's Derby next up and pigs will soar over the ground.
QPR fall in familiar Preston hole – Report
at 23:01:36

Have to agree that Cousins time is up. Although it was right to take him off at half time we needed more strength in midfield. Eze playing deeper just wasn't right. I understand the criticism of Smith but he did win a few headers (admittedly only one ended up near Wells) and for a while we had more possession in the PNE half, but once that threat had been weathered our midfield was overrun even more than in the first half. Obvs we need to give Manning a run, or even better hope Cam is fit v soon.
And for our next trick – Report
at 18:05:27

Definitely a great performance. I assume the club have various technical ways of assessing players fitness/tiredness and Freeman can just run and run for 46 games (+ more with a cup run). Equally perhaps Eze has more stamina than you'd expect from a 20 year old.
Hard to critise anything about the selection and performance. The weaknesses needed to happen (I know that's a strange way of putting it). Hall needed to have a rusty game, Ingram needed to show he could recover from an error, and any mistakes by youngsters were all part of the learning, both for them and the coaches. Bring on Pompey!
QPR make their point amidst Villa Park controversy - Report
at 19:23:28

No team will ease off if they have a chance of promotion. All a question of seeing what happens. But as Clive has pointed out before teams are getting wise to how we play so points from here on in might be tougher. Along with many others I see one of Macca's weaknesses is his use of substitutes. If Eze needs resting/gets more closely marked or if teams push agile pacy attackers up against L & L we won't find it easy to get to 76 points, but WTF, this has been a great season so far. Much better than anyone could have expected. The team and staff deserve a lot of praise.
Slick, composed, professional QPR sweep past Ipswich – Report
at 21:15:27

So bound to go tits up against Reading? It's the hope that kills you, but I'll take a bit of organisation, commitment and, even, skill. Lovely.

Happy New Year to all.

PS didn't think the ref was that bad.
A very un-QPR display - Knee Jerks
at 17:26:01

Pleased to see Antti's praise for Bidwell, who is very under-rated IMO. His work rate is great, he puts his body on the line with some great blocks (hard as nails - yes!) Over the last couple of years he has learnt to compensate for not having great pace and crossing the ball often being a challenge too far, by actually getting behind the full back or playing smart one-twos with Freeman.

And how very UnQPR it would be to beat Reading as well!
Vintage QPR performance lands them in Hull hell - Report
at 15:12:48

Completely agree about complacency/over-confidence. Too many players believing their own publicity. McClaren deciding on his first team and picking them every week has been a joy, compared to the chopping and changing we've been used to over many years, but the signs were there against Rotherham that they needed freshening up.

Rangel -yes it was a brilliant block in the first half and he has been outstanding - but he doesn't have Furlong's ability going forward or in the air. Leaving Furlong on the bench isn't going to help his confidence or experience. Maybe the same can be said about Wszolek and BOS. But the most baffling decision was hooking Cameron, when it seemed clear the defence needed protection. I see McC has called it a gamble but most at the ground would have found a different flutter.

But, and but again, this is still so much better than feared after ditching Holloway and that dismal start to the season. There are positives. But as Clive says after supporting the Rs for 40+ years, I'm well used to it!
Is this even the same season? Knee Jerks
at 14:05:34

Great points! We have to enjoy this after all the trials + tribulations we've suffered. Agree completely that S-Mac (is that what we have to call him now?) has done a terrific job with the defence and with Freeman.

I do think we've had our fair share of luck recently, but that may just be evening out when we seemed to have none. One bit of luck is coming up against pretty useless forwards who miss simple chances or shoot straight at Lumley. I fancy a lot of shots + headers have been going straight into his hands. Or could just be excellent positioning!

I think we'll struggle against teams who work out how to get pacy strikers up against Joel + Toni, but that may be difficult to do with Cam + Luongo protecting.

Freeman has been consistently good. Helping out Bidwell (tho' not as much as Pav gets back), acting as a orthodox wide man and cutting inside to link up with Eze, etc.

Lastly, yes Rangel has been superb. I can hardly remember a mistake, although he doesn't get forward too much.
Cameron makes QPR's point against Frank Lampard's Derby County - Report
at 23:25:59

Need to be realistic about what this team can achieve. FLDC were solid and obviously just outside play off places, but didn't really impress me, except for the sly nudges and top class falling down. But we are not a strong team although capable of good performances when the stars (and Freeman + Eze) align. Positives were spirit (kept battling), Wells work-rate up front, a defence that begins to look as if it know what it's doing (most of the time), Lumley looking increasingly secure and the possibility of some creativity from Freeman + Eze. Although disappointed that Kakay isn't getting a game Rangel has looked good. The downside is a midfield that somehow doesn't get a grip of games and although defence is more solid they are slow and can be turned. Oh and we struggle to score goals - obvs!

We are told Maclaren is a good coach. The next couple of months will show if that is right.
QPR go through the gears in comfortable Millwall win - Report
at 13:17:26

Agree Wells up front with Eze playing off him looked a good system... against a poor Millwall! But I'd certainly continue it on Saturday. I thought Wells did very well against the giants in Millwall's defence. It also gives us a more solid midfield with Cameron and Cousins, who I thought had his best game for us. Freeman playing wide left isn't his best position but if Maclaren can get the best out of him there we have a good offensive line-up. Most of all, though, I was impressed by our defence in the second half, properly organised for the first time this season. All very promising, which, of course, means we'll probably crumble on Saturday...
Brilliant Smithies finally beaten by nonsense late penalty - Report
at 17:07:04

Bringing on Smith and Washington clearly didn't help the attack, but I thought Holloway might have wanted Smith's height to defend set pieces. Given City dominated the last half hour using Hall to bolster midfield made sense and should have happened earlier.

In the end Rs were lucky. City could easily have scored 3 or 4 as Clive's report makes clear.

You couldn't say Sylla and Samuel impressed but I'd be happy to give them 2 or 3 games up front. They are mobile and Sylla does have more of an eye for goal than anyone else in the squad. But then the team must learn to cut out the long balls. Sylla isn't going to win them. But we'll probably be back to Washo and Smith for the next game. Please Ian, try to be a bit more consistent.

Merry Christmas!
Happy place - Preview
at 22:55:53

The question with Holloway was always that his skill set as a manager is limited. He has strengths and early in the season there were definite hopeful signs, esp in the midfield trio of Scowen, Luongo and Freeman. But when things don't go well (results, injuries, suspensions, etc) team selection (and substitutions) are very iffy.

Clive has summarised the dilemma, and Holloway's failings in selection, very well. He is a manic character (Holloway, I don't know about Clive) and it's perhaps not surprising that his team selections reveal more than a touch of ADHD. The idea of giving Sylla, Wheeler or whoever a run in the team just doesn't compute for Holloway.

But then we ask what is Les' role? His work on signings, etc seems pretty good, but should he be offering a more directive role with Holloway? I know managers think that team selection, formation, etc are their responsibility, but surely Les can say "we need to give X a decent run", or "I really think we need to use a proper winger"?

I'd stick with Holloway for now for the reasons Clive has set out, but I'm fearful! On the other hand I've supported Rs for 40+ years and it feels like this is what I signed up for: heartache, mood swings and occasional moments of ecstasy!

Fingers crossed.

QPR downed by one of their own - Report
at 05:52:57

Agree with much of the above. I'm more of a Holloway supporter but he does have his weaknesses. No one has mentioned his body language on Saturday, esp in the second half, when he retreated to the bench for long periods when he should have been on the edge of his area shouting, gesticulating and supporting a team clearly struggling. I know hand and arm flapping can seem pointless, but at least it shows he's trying. Not being active on the edge of the pitch gives the impression that he didn't know what to do. That of course may be the case but he's experienced enough to know he needed to make his presence felt.
QPR end horrible week on high, stunning Wolves - Report
at 22:52:24

Definitely best performance of the season. Luongo MotM, 'cos of his tackling - definitely added this to his game this season - a number of crunchers. But work rate of all forwards and midfield impressive, even Sylla who did a good job of winning a few headers and/or holding the ball up. Smith's goal a beauty.

And special mensh to Clarke Carlisle - clearly still vulnerable and not really sure this was well timed for him - but great to see and hear warmth of reception.
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