For the first 20 minutes on Saturday you wondered what QPR's Emmanuel Ledesma, an elegant Argentine, made of it all. Welcome to the land of pinball passing and flying tackles. As his manager, Iain Dowie, said later, Ledesma hails from a land where "they play a languid, laid-back style. This is more harum-scarum."
You suspect the 20-year-old midfielder will find life at Loftus Road something of a contrast to that at Genoa. However, after a first appearance in which his finesse with the ball and crossing from the right won him a standing ovation when he was substituted after 84 minutes, some were saying he possesses the attributes of those great QPR entertainers Rodney Marsh and Stan Bowles.
"I think he's already a cult hero," said Dowie. "He's got some talent, the boy. He's one who will gets the bums off seats. But he's also capable of taking some heavy challenges."
One of Ledesma's fellow loanees, 19-year-old Daniel Parejo from Real Madrid, found out just how heavy those tackles can be when he was caught by a red-card lunge from the Dutchman Marciano van Homoet.
QPR are intent on securing the Premier League future their owners – Flavio Briatore, Lakshmi Mittal and Bernie Ecclestone – demand with craft, graft and grit. The latter quality was embodied by their Latvian centre-back Kaspars Gorkss, who has been signed from Blackpool.
Briatore has been crucial in bringing in Ledesma and Parejo – "I wouldn't have been able to do that," said Dowie. Though the former Coventry, Charlton and Crystal Palace manager described reports of him falling out with Briatore as "mischief" and "a load of tosh", it is clear Rangers' progress will be scrutinised.
"Credit to Barnsley. It was like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out and we had to grind it out today," Dowie said after Fitz Hall's two goals had won a close contest. "It wasn't pretty. We were not at our best."
Hall's negligence contrib-uted to Barnsley's early goal, from Iain Hume. The defender atoned with his goals, but when offered a chance of a hat-trick, from the spot after Darren Moore felled Dexter Blackstock, he made it too easy for Luke Steele to save.
Simon Davey said his Barnsley team "had the lion's share of the game... and were the better side". They will certainly provide an obstacle in the paths of those with title pretensions.
Goals: Hume (5) 0-1; Hall (29) 1-1; (31) 2-1.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Delaney; Ledesma (Alberti, 84), Leigertwood, Mahon, Cook; Agyemang (Parejo, 72), Blackstock. Substitutes not used: Camp (gk), Connolly, Balanta.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele; Foster, Moore, Souza, Van Homoet; Devaney, Hassell (Leon, 84), Howard, El Haimour (Rigters, 74); Hume, Macken (Odejayi, 84). Substitutes not used: Kozluk, Mostto.
Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).
Booked: QPR Cook.
Sent off: Van Homoet (83).
Man of the match: Ledesma.
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