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McClaren: We must build around our strikers

STEVE McClaren admits the recent arrivals of Tomer Hemed and Nahki Wells means QPR need to adjust their approach to ensure they get the very best out of them.

Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Birmingham City, McClaren told www.qpr.co.uk: “I am more used to playing 4-3-3 with one striker, but we have been fortunate enough to bring in two top strikers so we have to adapt.

“We need to build a team around the strikers and play to their strengths – and get the ball in the final third as often as possible.”

After a difficult start to the season, Rangers got their first points of the season with a victory over Wigan last weekend and followed that up with a Carabao Cup triumph against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.

“They all fought against Wigan for the three points and then we had a win in the cup so it has been a good week and a good reaction,” McClaren said.

“Now we need to follow that up on Saturday against a Birmingham team who will feel like they should have more points on the board than they’ve got.”

Garry Monk’s side have taken three points from their opening five games, picking up draws against Norwich, Swansea and Nottingham Forest.

“We watched them against Swansea and they were very strong, very physical, very direct – a handful,” McClaren said.

“The first ten games are always up and down – you’re trying to find your feet, find your form. That’s what we are looking to do.”

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In their last outing, Birmingham led 2-0 at Forest with 15 minutes to go but were forced to accept a share of the spoils, and McClaren added:

“They are a front-foot team and they will have a good atmosphere up there.

“We will need to show a lot of courage, not just to compete and fight like we did against Wigan but when the opportunity comes, to get the ball down and play football.

“I am looking forward to the break in fixtures after this weekend because it will give us the opportunity to really bed-down how we are going to play, our best system. We want to be a team that plays good football, is hard to beat and gets results.”

The R’s boss has no fresh injury concerns after two games already this week, adding: “Everybody has come through the last couple of games.

“Everyone is fit and training, and I am really getting a feel for the players, the team and what we need to do.”

We need to build a team around the strikers.

Steve McClaren
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