QPR boss Mark Warburton says his team are desperate to show just how much they care by getting the right result against Fulham tonight (Tuesday) – that after a disappointing week for the R’s.
Back-to-back 1-0 defeats against both Charlton Athletic and Barnsley have made it a less-than-ideal return to action for a Rangers team unbeaten in six league outings before football ground to a halt.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s west London derby in W12, Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk: “There is still a feeling of frustration and there has to be – we’ve lost two games one-nil to two very sloppy, soft goals.
“We’ve given away six valuable points and saw in the second half of both games that, even at six or six-and-a-half out of 10, we should have done so much better.
“We’ve let ourselves down – there’s no doubt about that. Points have been dropped and it’s about details – defending your goal, you can’t give away cheap set-pieces. And likewise at the other end, you have to be more clinical in the final third.
“I’ve heard comments like ‘we’ve got nothing to play for’, ‘we’re tired’ and that the players ‘don’t really care’ – that their minds aren’t on the job. That’s derogatory beyond belief – for young players and senior ones alike who have worked so hard to gel as a new squad and come together to display a series of good performances this season.
“We’re very honest – we’ve let ourselves down by dropping points, stupidly, and when we’ve been poor we’ll say so.
“But to suggest that the players ‘don’t care’ or are ‘on the beach’ – I think that’s derogatory towards the players and staff. I’ll always fight that corner.”
He added: “They’re a great group and they’ve worked hard to bring a camaraderie to it – they’re good together, speak honestly, and are a committed group of players.
“They’ve gone through losing two or three players owing to contract situations, losing players to injury, losing Nahki Wells in January – they’ve dealt with all of that.
“To make a suggestion that they’re unfit, they’re lazy, that they don’t care or that they don’t work hard enough is derogatory from very ignorant people who would suggest that.
“Every time you pull the shirt on – you have a responsibility. Every single player in our dressing room understands what wearing a QPR shirt means. People are paying to watch the games, streaming them and supporting the club which means so much to the local community.”
Scott Parker's Fulham will make the short trip from SW6 themselves looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats – against Leeds United and Brentford – which have seriously damaged their claim for automatic promotion from the Championship.
“Of course, tonight is a London derby and we’d love to see a packed stadium – the atmosphere of a London derby under the lights,” Warburton continued.
“It’s a game against a very talented Fulham team. I know Scott and his staff very well and have huge respect for them. Their team will come and look to get the ball down and play football. We have to rise to and meet the challenge against a very talented squad of players.
“Scott was a winner as a player and I’ve no doubt him and his staff will galvanise the team. Given how talented a squad they have, they’ll be pushing hard and will expect the play-offs as a minimum.
“There’s no doubt that they have a very good team and have had some tremendous performances this year. They’ll come to our stadium keen to right the wrongs of the last two games.
“We’ve got to enjoy the challenge, rise to the challenge, and we’re a very good team when we play as we can play, with the quality we have in our own ranks. We’re a very talented team as well.”