Neil Warnock was delighted with the performance of his team of misfits, as he termed the Rs` First Team yesterday after our victory against Paulo De Sousa`s Leicester took us five points clear at the top of the Championship
“It was a real professional performance,” Warnock opined. “I heard one of the locals saying we were camped in our half, but I thought that every time we broke we looked threatening.
“We had two goals – I thought we could`ve scored more! I thought we looked solid. I didn`t think Leicester had a shot to save by Paddy other than the scramble with two or three bodies in the way,” he continued.
“If you come to a place like this – and they`re not a bad side, make no mistake – it`s a great result for us. Probably the best of the season!”
On Mackie`s opening goal – a bullet header into the top left-hand side of the goal, Warnock purred: “I think Nat Lofthouse would`ve been proud of that header! I mean right in the top corner. It was a great move,” he admitted.
“It was what we needed today. We had to hang in there. We had to work. The work ethic of the team at the moment! You saw Kyle Walker at the end (he`s only on loan) and he`s wanted to overlap. We`re winning 2-0 and it`s the 5th minute of injury time and he`s sprinted 100 yards! It`s incredible at the moment – the fitness levels.”
Warnock was also effervescent when talking about Mackie`s second goal: “He ran right across about 50 or 60 yards anticipating a mistake. That`s why you get goals! If you anticipate mistakes, you get goals, and he`s scored two or three this year on just mistakes and being in the right place.
“He`s bubbling! He`s flying! And long may it continue,” Warnock added about our leading goal-scorer.
Warnock was quick to respond to the so-called “penalty” incident late on, when Steve Howard ended up with blood all over his face: “I think when you play against Steve Howard, it`s usually one of our lads that`s got blood all over his face! Steve won`t complain. He`ll know it`s one day one way and one day another.
“I don`t think there was anything in it personally. I`m sure Paulo will think that but they`re scratching at straws really, aren`t they?” he concluded on that incident.
Warnock is delighted that we are the pace-setters of the league – the in-form team that everyone wants to beat: “I think it`s great! You can slip up a few times so to get the points on the board at this time of the season is great. We know we`re going to have a bad time at some stage, and we`re going to have to get over that period.
“But at the moment, it`s flying so long may it continue!” Warnock enthused.
Paulo De Sousa, however, was not quite so bubbly in his post-match interview! He was not just disappointed with the defeat but the manner of the defeat. Clearly De Sousa does not like the fact that Warnock`s players are battlers, complaining that his side “is not a side for battles – they are.”
“Something I don`t appreciate in the game. It started to be a battle – a battle where we don`t know how to win and we lost that battle because we are not like that,” De Sousa whinged. Sorry – but isn`t football all about battling and fighting? Isn`t that precisely what we have lacked in the past which has cost us so dearly? With apologies to the great Bard – me thinks De Sousa protests too much!
He claimed that, during the game, we were “nasty. And not only nasty, but started to do certain things which don`t allow us to break that pressure, which didn`t help.” I`m sorry – he complained about our battling qualities last year when he managed Swansea – and even Warnock referred to his complaints before yesterday`s game. But honestly, I have to ask, what planet is De Sousa on? And to think I used to respect him!
And he wasn`t finished! He then moaned about the referee`s performance, claiming that Graham Scott favoured Rangers: “He allowed for one of the teams in the game. QPR don`t need to be helped because they are a good enough side to fight for the points.
“He cost us points,” De Sousa claimed (referring to the Steve Howard bloody nose incident which De Sousa clearly felt should`ve been a penalty). And he couldn`t wait to point out the fact that we have already had five penalties this season (the most of any Championship team, actually!) Sour grapes?!
He did acknowledge that Leicester didn`t start the game very well. “Even in the warm-up we felt that the players were a little bit leggy. In their decisions. In their movements,” he offered as an excuse. He blamed this on their home victory against Cardiff on Tuesday night (sorry, weren`t we playing on Tuesday night, too? And Warnock`s not moaning – in fact, he`s complimenting our fitness levels – maybe you should work on your fitness, De Sousa?!)
“They studied us very well and closed us down straight away to stop us build up our offensive organisation. But also we didn`t take our decisions more quickly with high tempo and better movements.” Seems to me like he`s saying we were the better team from the get-go!
“After the goal, we reacted quite well. We started to be more positive and more involved in the first half. We started to dominate and we pushed them close to their box.
“We need to be more clinical and aggressive at times – when you have the possibility to shoot, to cross but with some quality, to attack the different areas of the box.”
So – there you have it. One manager happily proclaiming his team`s performance as the best of the season so far. The other moaning, whinging and blaming everyone and everything he can think of to excuse the fact that, quite frankly, Leicester weren`t good enough to beat us yesterday!
We want to know YOUR thoughts!
To have your say you can comment in the space provided below, or chat about it on the forum.