After only a second home goal of the season and with the wait for a top-flight win here now extending to 15-and-a-half years, Queen's Park Rangers' troubles were added to late on Saturday when Joey Barton launched into team-mate Adel Taarabt. The Moroccan stormed out of Craven Cottage at half-time a fortnight ago with his side halfway toward a 6-0 defeat, posing for photographs with fans at a bus stop outside the ground.
Barton was less than sympathetic, revealing Taarabt has yet to apologise for his actions at Fulham. "He should be getting a lot [of criticism]," Barton told Talksport. "He wouldn't like to come in and apologise for doing that, and he didn't think he needed to. That game, he told me he was a genius; I've yet to see it, and I don't know whether that's because he doesn't work hard enough or tends to sulk. This is the top level of world football, and if you're not prepared to work hard, you'll come up massively short.
"If I had Adel's ability I'd be not wanting to come up short, having not worked hard enough. There'll be times when players come in and out, but their reaction, their attitude to it is going to be most important, not getting the bus home with fans and storming off."
Other events hardly lifted the mood either, QPR manager Neil Warnock left furious that his starting XI had been leaked online prior to a dour 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers. A fans forum carried a post on Friday full of sensitive team news: Taarabt's relegation to the bench and DJ Campbell's suspected broken metatarsal, which has ruled him out for up to two months.
"I think it's a disgrace, with an alleged supporter trying to get kudos" Warnock said. "He's definitely not a supporter, he's trying to get us beat."
The nature of the information points to its source being a disgruntled player. "It's disappointing when it comes from the dressing room. That's the only place it could have come from."
Warnock need not have worried. The rogue communications were not intercepted at Ewood Park. Steve Kean, the Blackburn manager, admitted after the game that he arranged his team with the intent of stopping Taarabt. It was not until the midfielder came on in the second half that there was a chance made from open play. Both goals, which came within eight first-half minutes, were down to preventable failures of marking from corner-kicks – Heidar Helguson opening the scoring for the home side before Chris Samba's headed equaliser. Neither side played with any imagination, trust or fluency. Neither side made a particularly strong case that they will be in the Premier League next season.
Kean revealed after the game that Junior Hoilett, his brightest attacker on Saturday, is on the brink of signing a new deal.
Scorers: Queen's Park Rangers Helguson 16. Blackburn Rovers Samba 24.
Substitutes: QPR Taarabt 6 (Mackie, 64), Smith (Wright-Phillips, 83). Blackburn Goodwillie 6 (Roberts, 67).
Booked: QPR Hall, Traore, Wright-Phillips. Blackburn Nzonzi, Lowe
Man of the match Lowe.
Match rating 2/10.
Possession: QPR 51% Blackburn 49%.
Attempts on target: QPR 6 Blackburn 9.
Referee M Clattenburg (Co Durham). Attendance 16,487.Reuse content