Championship: Steve McClaren blames transfer saga for QPR’s worst ever start and insists he has ‘full support’ of board

Fans both home and away were chanting ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ at the former England boss after Bristol City put three past QPR

Matt Murphy
Wednesday 22 August 2018 16:06
Steve McClaren watches QPR struggle to defeat against Bristol City
Steve McClaren watches QPR struggle to defeat against Bristol City

Steve McClaren insists he’s still the right man for QPR, as their worst ever start to a season continued with a fourth straight defeat.

Rangers lost 3-0 at home to Bristol City on Tuesday night, who in return picked up both their first win of the calendar year and their first ever victory at Loftus Road.

McClaren, who took the job eight weeks ago, pointed at the club’s buying restrictions as the main reason they’re routed to the bottom of the Championship.

The West London side brought in just two new players over the summer, both on a free transfer, after the club were hit with a hefty fine for breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

“Yes absolutely,” said the 57-year-old, when asked if he was the right person to turn things around. “I knew the situation when I came in. This board and the owners, if they could spend money, they would, but the restrictions are the restrictions and what we’ve said is that we’re in the loan and free market and they are very supportive of that. That is the key message to the supporters.”

At the end of July, the EFL ruled Rangers would pay out £42m in fines and loan settlements, relating to overspending back when they achieved promotion to the Premier League in 2014. They'll also face a transfer embargo for upcoming the January window.

QPR still have until the end of August to register any further free transfers and loanees, which McClaren admits they’re relying heavily upon to save them from drowning at the foot of the table.

Steve McClaren's QPR career has got off to the worst possible start

“We’ve identified players,” he said, “Les [Ferdinand] is working behind the scenes to bring them in. And we know we’re not scoring goals and not keeping clean sheets. That’s a balancing act. I’m confident if we get the right players in we’ll be okay.

“We have the talent here, we certainly do,” he added. “We need to improve in certain areas. We have to defend properly, we have to defend right. We’re not doing that.”

The club have conceded 10 goals over the last two games, after a comprehensive 7-1 thrashing at West Brom – six of those goals coming in the second half. McClaren admitted a similar scenario unfolded in their defeat to Bristol City, showing a positive first half, but collapsing after half-time.

Matty Taylor opened the scoring for the visitors, with Andreas Weimann bagging a second-half brace, as defenders left the Austrian unmarked on both occasions.

City boss Lee Johnson had sympathy and respect for his opposite number after the game, claiming he was the right person to save the club from slipping further.

Luke Freeman of QPR battles for possession with Marley Watkins

“I know management is a hard job,” he said, “especially with social media nowadays. You know what it is like. You can whip up a storm awfully quick. Sometimes it is fair and sometimes it is unjust. It’s about resilience and everybody and every club is different and has different things going on. Steve showed real character to take this job at the current time.”

“He is a fully respected manager that has got many more years of experience than me,” he added, “so I am not going to tell him how to suck eggs. It looks like the football club needs to build itself up again and get that identity and there is no better man to do that than Steve McClaren.”

Travelling Bristol fans were chanting “you’re getting sacked in the morning” at the former England boss when they’d put two past QPR. But after the third goal, it was the home fans who joined in with the singing and finger-pointing as they headed for the exits.

“That is society now, an instant reaction and this is normal,” McClaren said of the chants. “Am I pleased? No. Am I angry and disappointed? Yes. Am I determined to put this right? Yes. I knew this was a tough job and I knew coming in it wouldn’t happen overnight.

“We understand, it is part of football and we have to react and on Saturday we have an opportunity. My message to the fans is patience, I’m certainly losing it, we need players, but we have support from the board to do that.”

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