AS MARK Warburton readies his troops for Blackburn this weekend, he has called on his players to “deliver a performance” in west London.
The R’s suffered a 3-0 loss at Cardiff City on Wednesday night and the R’s boss admits his post-match speech to the players was one that needed to be carefully considered.
“It was important we got the message right to the players,” Warburton explained.
“There is no denying we lost the game 3-0 – that is the over-riding factor. If you read the scoreline without seeing the game it looks like a heavy defeat but I can’t think of a game further from the truth.
“My message to the players was that if we do that every time we play we will have more good days than bad.
“There were so many good aspects to it and lots of good chances but we have to take those chances. Goals change games and we can’t avoid the fact that we didn’t test their goalkeeper enough.”
Less than 72 hours after the final whistle blew at Cardiff City Stadium, Rangers will kick off against Tony Mowbray’s side, presenting a challenging backdrop for preparation, and Warburton admitted: “The division’s demands are, as we know, relentless.
“I am always bemused of a situation where we play away in Cardiff on a Wednesday when your opponent for Saturday is at home on a Tuesday.
“I could understand if that was switched around, and I am sure Tony and Blackburn will come across the same problem we face.
“We happen to be the harder-done-by team on this occasion. It does seem bizarre to me that you can’t switch the fixtures.
“Having said that, the boys rested on Thursday and we trained light today so we are more than ready for tomorrow.”
Blackburn sit one place below QPR in 12th place and Warburton knows what his side will face at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
“I expect them to be really organised,” he said. “They have good experience throughout their ranks – Greg Cunningham, Bradley Johnson, Stewart Downing, Danny Graham – and they have quality too.
“They are really well managed and they know their roles and responsibilities so we expect another tough test.
“We are at home in front of our fans and it is important for us to deliver a performance, set the tempo with the intensity, play our game and hopefully impose our game on the opposition.”
Rangers have amassed 16 points from their first ten games, so is Warburton and his new-look team further along than he anticipated at this stage after so many changes in the summer?
“We are,” he admitted. “That is why I have always tried to taper expectation without in any way dampening enthusiasm. It is a fine balance.
“You never want to appear as lacking ambition – we want to finish this season as high as we possibly can. If we do what we do well, we are a very good team, but we are a new group coming together and there will be good days and not-so-good days.
“We have had four wins on the spin and now we have had two defeats on the spin. That sentiment goes from positive to negative so quickly but what we have to do is recognise what we do well, work hard every day and always give 100 per cent.
“What you can’t afford to do is give anything less than 100 per cent.”