DESPITE defeat, a visit from Southampton was the perfect preparation for QPR’s Under-21s ahead of the new Professional Development League campaign, according to boss Steve Gallen.
Coll Donaldson’s opener - the defender's first since arriving at the club in January - wasn’t enough to prevent Gallen’s side signing off the summer with a 3-1 defeat
Billy Sharp’s second-half double either side of Josh Sims' strike inspired a Saints recovery at Harlington, overturning a one-goal deficit despite seeing Rangers dominate for long periods.
Saturday’s encounter completed the R’s pre-season programme and, despite ending with a loss, Gallen was satisfied enough with the afternoon’s work – and the summer as a whole.
“I was really pleased with our performance, particularly in the first half” he told www.qpr.co.uk
. “We were 1-0 up and good value for it.
“We were dominant, even at 1-1, but I think we just took our foot off the pedal somewhat. We made a few changes and perhaps that didn’t help things.
“But we’re just trying to build up fitness and it was a very good test and a good exercise for the lads. Both games in Ireland were competitive and, all in all, it’s been a positive pre-season.”
After trips to Limerick and Bray Wanderers coincided with a convincing 5-0 success at nearby Arlesley Town, Gallen knew the R’s toughest test was still to come.
“Southampton are a good team,” he said. “They’re very professional and they’ve got a great youth team. We knew it would be a step-up in quality and in many ways it was a good example for us.”
That didn’t however, deter from his disappointment at his side’s failure to hold onto an early lead.
Gallen plans on making amends on the training pitch in the coming days as attentions now turn to the R’s opening game of the season on Monday.
He added: “I was disappointed with the manner in which we conceded the goals, which were really soft. But at least it gives us a few things to work on.
"Hopefully it will set us up nicely for the season which we’re looking forward to.”
to review QPR Under-21s' pre-season fixtures in full.