Manager: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink League Position: 13th
Overall: Played 33; Won 9, Drawn 14, Lost 10; For 39, Against 40, GD –1; Points 41
Last six away matches:
Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Huddersfield Town
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Hull City
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Ipswich Town
Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Fulham
Top goalscorer: Charlie Austin – 10
Most assists: Massimo Luongo – 5
Most starts: Matt Phillips & Nedum Onuoha – 33
Worst discipline: Nedum Onuoha – 8 yellow cards
Season so far:
Largely disappointing. The club have been in a mess for some time and as much as Chris Ramsey tried to convince people things were beginning to change, the inability of his players to prove change was visible on the field eventually led to his sacking. A summer in which plenty of changes were made, QPR found themselves with an ageing defence, youthful midfield and unknowing whether their only true goalscorer would remain for the season.
Ramsey got his marching orders shortly before Christmas with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink taking on the reigns following his goos following his good work at Burton Albion. Results have not changed an awful amount but the shape of the team is beginning to come to fruition while Washington, Ingram and El Khayati have replaced a couple of big earners. Doing as much as he can without players of the required talent and leadership to truly provide his way of playing the game.
There is one statistic I always find quite enjoyable from a Blues perspective considering our lofty position – we cannot keep possession. Queens Park Rangers probably do not enjoy the fact that their team cannot keep hold of the ball though you suspect that largely comes down to their inability to create or take chances with regularity.
QPR’s struggles this season have largely come down to a lack of shape on and off the ball along with a huge dent in their mentality. Seeing games out is not their strong point, keeping possession in the right areas at key points in the game is not their strong point and making a difference in either 18 year area is not their strong point.
QPR remain a flaky outfit capable of producing wonderful moments largely mixed with some disappointing displays but Hasselbaink is setting about his mission to improve that.
His team are not one to keep hold of possession on a regular basis. Only ourselves and Preston North End fail to enjoy more possession of the ball than QPR at home while their passing success is amongst the worst in the division, epitomised by recent home fixtures versus Fulham, Ipswich and Wolves in which they have successfully found a team-mate on average around 56% of the time – almost one of every two passes results in a loss of possession.
In an ideal world, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink would have his team playing a direct, high tempo style in which they press from the front, make life difficult for the opposition and make the most of their opportunities, proven by the legacy left at Burton. Only, he does not quite have the players to match those philosophies at QPR currently with their defence incredibly laboured at times and the team mistake-prone throughout. They lack the same ruthless nature as Burton Albion under his tenure.
Pressuring the back four is without doubt the best chance of success. Donaldson will be well aware that Grant Hall is a weak link while Nedum Onuoha is culpable to error. Their full-backs are hardly the quickest pairing in the world. While high pressing is not in the Blues manual, Rowett will no doubt have plans to make the pitch narrow, stop QPR playing through Luongo and Hoilett down the centre of the pitch and break quickly into wide areas where Buckley, Cotterill or Maghoma will be waiting to press Perch and Konchesky.