MARK Warburton praised his team’s second-half performance after Rangers came from behind to earn a 2-2 Sky Bet Championship draw at home to Barnsley on Saturday.
The R’s were two goals down at half-time and admittedly fortunate to still be in the game before a stirring comeback in the closing period – backed up by goals from Ilias Chair and Charlie Austin – saw QPR claim a dramatic point in the end.
Warburton discussed a number of points at full-time, detailed below.
On the first-half showing
"It’s easy to turn around and blame it on the schedule of late, which is ludicrous, but we had to be better than that.
"They were always going to come out with energy and intensity, that’s how Barnsley play, and we needed to take care of the football and make good decisions.
"We didn’t. We gave the ball away too cheaply and got turned over too quickly. We played Barnsley’s game and they are far better at it than we are."
On the first-half subs
"We were two down and felt we had to change things quickly. It was no reflection of Andre [Dozzell] or George [Thomas], who have been excellent since the first day of pre-season, but we had to change it. We could have taken a number of players off.
"I have spoken to them, which you have to, and told them that it wasn’t about them.
"We had to change it, but in the second half I think you saw a much more composed performance. We took care of the ball and stepped in. In the end, we could have even won it.
"Albert [Adomah] enjoys possession of the football, and Dom Ball has been excellent for us. He put in a shift at Middlesbrough and we wondered if it would be too much to ask him to go again.
"But Dom came on and I thought he was outstanding, so all credit to him.
"Second half, around the pitch, we were much better. We created chances and looked a completely different outfit. All credit to the players, they showed the desire they had to come back."
On the role of the fans
"I must mention the role the fans played – that’s the loudest I’ve heard the stadium since I’ve been at the club. The fans were magnificent.
"They sucked the ball into the net. In those last 20 minutes, the boys responded to the fantastic backing they received.
"The fans saw the players give everything for the shirt again. It sounds like an old cliché, but the fans have to see the players give everything. Half the boys in there could hardly walk out of the changing room at the end.
"We’ve got to try and go again on Tuesday [versus Oxford United in the Carabao Cup]. The international break can’t come soon enough."
On the injury list
"Jordy [de Wijs] rolled his ankle. He landed awkwardly and we had to respond by using our final sub before the second half. He’ll have a scan and we’ll see how he is.
"I wanted to look after the likes of Stef Johansen and Charlie Austin today, but they played 90 minutes and ran themselves into the ground.
"We asked the players to step up this afternoon in difficult conditions and they did. They earned a well-deserved point and deserve enormous praise and credit.
"It’s difficult now. To lose players to injury and suspension when we have a tight squad is very difficult. But that’s the challenge of the Championship.
"Lyndon Dykes has had a chest infection. He put a shift in at Middlesbrough then his chest tightened up and we had to look after him. He’s got a very heavy cold now but I’m hoping he’ll be available for Coventry.
"Sam McCallum lost a lot of weight from an upset stomach but I’m hoping he’ll be available to play for some part of Tuesday.
"Lee Wallace has pulled his hamstring. Again, we’ve got to assess and see how he is, but he could be out for a few weeks."
On Austin’s late leveller
"He’ll have been very, very frustrated at missing a couple of chances prior – it’s easy for me as a manager on the sideline when I’ve got space to look at it.
"But Charlie was in the areas to miss those chances. He’s a proven goalscorer at the highest level and he got his reward in the 90th minute.
"Like all the boys, he deserves enormous credit. The draw was fully deserved and the boys worked really hard. Charlie coming through the 90 minutes speaks volumes about his character and his application."