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Ian Holloway proud in defeat

IAN Holloway was disappointed QPR came away with nothing to show for their efforts from Saturday’s five-goal thriller with Middlesbrough.

Rangers twice led through David Wheeler and Jamie Mackie at the start of either half, but were twice pegged back before Britt Assombalonga’s 60th-minute strike proved the winner.

“It was a fantastic game of football,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk. “If you’re a neutral, that’s what you want to see week in, week out – two teams trying to win it.

“I’m scratching my head at how we’ve lost it in the end.”

Wheeler – one of five changes to the R’s starting XI – capped his full debut with a goal inside two minutes, poking home inside the box following Luke Freeman’s scuffed effort.

“It was a blinding start for us,” he said. “That’s Wheeler’s debut and he’s scored after a couple of minutes.

“After that they moved the ball like we knew they would. They tried to pin us in. We just looked a little wobbly and I made a couple of changes at half time and put my pressers on.”

One of those changes made an instant impact, with Mackie rewarded for closing down Darren Randolph’s clearance and duly slotting into an empty net to restore the R’s lead.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as two quick-fire goals – the second of which appeared to have crossed the line in the build-up – put Boro in front.

The game almost took one final twist, but Mackie’s fellow half-time substitute Pawel Wszolek saw a late volley crash back off the post.

“It’s terribly fine margins,” Holloway admitted. “Was that ball out [for their third goal]?

“At the other end we’ve gone and hit the post.

“I believe we deserved at least something from the game.”

Holloway’s hand had been forced before kick-off, with Nedum Onuoha, Conor Washington and Josh Scowen all ruled out after picking up injuries in Tuesday’s draw with Millwall.

The R’s boss, though, couldn’t have been prouder of his depleted troops, adding: “I thought they gave me absolutely everything.

“We lost Nedum Onuoha, Conor Washington and Josh Scowen, who’ve been starting almost every week. It was always going to be a big miss, right down the spine of our team.

“It was a big ask for my new lads and whatever I asked them to do they did for me.

“I’m bursting with pride because we didn’t look a bad team out there. We kept going, we showed massive resilience.

“Unfortunately we’re going to go home with the tail between our legs with absolutely nothing to show for that effort when really there was hardly anything between the teams.”

I’m bursting with pride because we didn’t look a bad team out there.

Ian Holloway