IAN Holloway praised his side’s battling qualities, after QPR clinched a vital 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory over Wigan Athletic in W12.
Success over the Latics – secured thanks to goals from Matt Smith (four minutes) and Conor Washington (60), with Omar Bogle’s 17th-minute penalty sandwiched in between – means the R’s are now 10 points clear of the league’s relegation zone, with Warren Joyce’s team third-bottom.
And Holloway was a pleased man after seeing Rangers follow up Saturday’s win at Birmingham City with another against Wigan at Loftus Road.
“The most-important thing is the three points,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.
“But fair play to Wigan, I think their pressing and closing has been exceptional under Warren. They were a very, very tough nut to crack.
“We weren’t at our best tonight. We lost Hally (Grant Hall) early on, he’s on crutches now. He took a knock to the shin – hopefully it’s not serious.
“We got in front, but we didn’t settle – I don’t think they let us, to be honest.
“They got back in it and it was a little bit nervy, but the lads have ground something out – and that’s really, really important.
“The workrate was there, even though the passing wasn’t. But I’d like to give Wigan credit for that. They made us work for the win.
“That’s the first time we haven’t slipped on a banana skin, which feels really, really good.”
Holloway added: “I think you can see that the togetherness is coming. We’ve changed so much, but everyone is contributing – even the substitutes who go on are making a difference.
“It’s causing me a headache, in terms of leaving people out. We’re definitely stronger, we’re definitely all together. And the good news is that the players are all shouting the right things – 'let’s press, let’s get tight'.
“Wigan battered us a bit, physically, but we took it. Ryan’s (Manning) almost got his head knocked off his shoulders, after quite a bad challenge, but we got up and we didn’t moan.
“QPR teams in the past might have. But we’ve shown a bit of steel.
“I think the fans really enjoyed seeing the lads having a go for each other. That’s what I’m pleased with. The togetherness is coming, which is really, really important.
“Even though we haven’t always got what we’ve deserved, on the training ground, the belief has still been there. I think we saw that tonight.
“And the quality of the finish [from Washington] was what life is all about in the Championship. It was a fantastic goal – a great move.
“Kazenga [LuaLua] could have shot, but he didn’t – he flicked it into Conor, and that’s what Conor does. I’m delighted that he’s now scored a fair few.
“We haven’t always got the rub of the green over the last couple of weeks, so I’m also delighted for all the lads.”