MARK Warburton was delighted with his side’s performance following their determined 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
After a rampant first twenty minutes, Rangers stormed into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a stunning strike from Rob Dickie and then a close-range header from Lee Wallace.
Yannick Bolasie pulled a goal back for the hosts and when Seny Dieng was shown his marching orders things looked bleak for the R’s, but some dogged defending from Warburton’s side ensured we left Teeside with all three points.
“Throughout the first twenty, twenty-five minutes I thought we were very good,” Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk.
“We went with a very attacking line-up, we wanted to go man for man and expose them on the ball and try and dominate the football and we did that.
“We cut them open at will in the first twenty-five minutes, we got them on the half-turn, we played forward, we had Lee Wallace breaking forward down the left, Albert on the far side, Lyndon working his socks off, we looked a really good team.
“Rob Dickie then hits a screamer into the top corner from thirty yards, then we get a well worked second goal and we are in a good position.
“We give away a really soft goal and of course the sending off in the second half changed everything, but I thought to a man we really stood up, we showed great quality, we worked behind the ball, we saw Lyndon working tirelessly, we did well.”
He added: “We had to go out and block crosses, win tackles, get bodies in the way.
“We had to work hard, and we did that today.
“They put a real shift in and we had to because if we hadn’t then we would’ve paid the price.
“Having gone 2-0 up and then conceding a soft goal we had to defend well but finding the right balance and we have today, and the lads deserve an enormous amount of credit.”
As we approached the hour mark Rangers were reduced to ten men, with Dieng adjudged to have brought down Duncan Watmore, this ensured that if the R’s were to leave with all three points then a determined final quarter of the game was required.
Warburton added: “It’s human nature once you go down to ten men you drop deep and try to defend.
“The key thing is to remain on the front foot, you have to still press out, we still had one up top and then we made the change and went for the four at the back, we had to make sure that Lyndon wasn’t isolated and could still hurt them on the counter.
“They were still taking risks, but we remained calm, continued to still move the ball well and we knew we could hurt them.
"That was plan but Middlesbrough are very good at what they do, they have a very good squad, that is a big three points for us this afternoon.
“It was a great response from the disappointing trip to Rotherham on Tuesday, but I want us to push on now, see what we can get from the last four games and cement ourselves in the top ten and build towards next season.”
This clash also saw the arrival of youngster Stephen Duke-McKenna, whose 86th minute substitution saw him making his first professional appearance for the R’s.
Warburton added: “Stephen has been doing well for the Under 23’s and has worked hard for his chance, we saw what Middlesbrough were doing and Stephen came on up top and forced a few mistakes.
“I am delighted for him; he has worked hard and deserved his opportunity. We have to use our squad during this tough period of time, this was a big three points, and we now move above last season’s total, so I am delighted.
Middlesbrough are very good at what they do, they have a very good squad so that is a big three points for us.