by Adam Boxer
Not losing has been a key facet to Queens Park Rangers’ season thus far, and while players and management will maintain that their focus was on victory, it was easy at times to see that hesitancy that accompanies such a prestigious and historic run.
A defeat, and indeed a defeat at home could be just the tonic to convert some winnable games into three points. The only complaint supporters will have thus far this campaign is at times where Rangers lack that extra bite or killer instinct when a player like Taarabt goes quiet.
Far from being a meticulous critique of the season as it has happened, Rangers have performed above all expectations, and this has been highlighted by a stunning start to the campaign that sees them sit top of one of the most inconsistent leagues in recent memory.
Cardiff City appear to have far the better players in the league, along with recently relegated Portsmouth, but neither have truly taken the bull by the horns and asserted their respective advantages in terms of playing talent.
Rangers meanwhile have built a season on team-work and spirit and despite a couple of minor blips, find themselves back at the top. A defeat against Watford was something that the media or bookmakers wouldn’t have predicted but speaking as a QPR supporter, it has been coming.
At times the defenders have seemed stretched and this has been highlighted by the amount of goals conceded of late. Hardly surprising then that the passing and movement of what appeared a useful Watford side dismantled the home defence and posed several unanswerable questions.
As mentioned, QPR supporters could sense this manner of performance and defeat coming around the corner – something had to give after all. What is important now is making that performance a blip and not a trend.
Championship history is littered with clubs that start fast and fade equally as quickly, and so QPR must guard against complacency and get back on the wagon. The Christmas period will be season-defining and Rangers must be back at their resilient best.
Swansea City at home is the stand-out clash followed by in-form Bristol City coming to W12 in January – important games that sandwich trips to Leeds United, Coventry City and Norwich City, all playoff hopefuls in their own right.
Taking Friday’s result on the chin will have a sizeable baring on the remainder of the season, a result that was difficult to stomach but nevertheless will provide a stern test of character for fans and players alike.
Warnock can at last pull on some tracksuit bottoms and not having to look at his legs is something we can all be thankful for I guess, but his side will know that their reaction to Watford could well display their difference between contenders and pretenders.
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