BY NICK KITUNO
Mark Warburton believes Queens Park Rangers should have had six goals in the first half as they resisted Rotherham United’s late fightback to hold on to a 3-2 win.
Michael Smith cancelled out Ilias Chair’s opener before two rapid stoppage-time goals saw the R’s head into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Rotherham kept their belief, setting up a nervy finish when substitute Freddie Ladapo struck with six minutes remaining, but QPR held on for all three points and their third win in five Championship games.
Warburton said: “The reaction in the first half was very, very good. I thought we met the challenge, met the physicality and we played some really good football.
“We opened them up at will, isolated the wide players [Bright Osayi-Samuel and Chris Willock] against their full-backs, and I thought we looked a good team for long periods of the first half.
“In truth, very respectfully, because [I have] huge respect for Paul [Warne, Rotherham manager] and his team, and what they do, I thought we should have had six in the first half. But a team like Rotherham will always come out, and react and never say die. That’s testament to Paul and his ethos, and we knew that.
“We had to take care of the football second half and that was not a QPR team in the second half. We kept them out for 20 minutes, and we could have had another couple of goals, didn’t do it and we didn’t play our game at all.
“We fell very much into a well-set trap and, in truth, could have easily dropped two points.
“Rotherham are always a tough opponent for any opponent. Home or away, they will commit bodies forward, they have good physicality and they are very, very good at what they do. Have no doubt about that.
“We showed good quality in the first half, but we must recognise that we earn the right to play QPR’s game. Not somebody else’s game.”
Osayi-Samuel starred in the Rangers win as he finished with a goal and assist before coming off for Adomah late on.
QPR took the lead after 20 minutes when Osayi-Samuel’s cutback cross eventually fell to Chair, whose deflected effort managed to beat Jamal Blackman on its way in. He then went on a solo run and took on the Rotherham defence himself before smashing home a minute into first half injury-time.
The winger also hit the post twice, coming closest when the ball ricocheted off Angus MacDonald and then the post, but Warburton was pleased with his display nonetheless.
Warburton added: “Brighty’s had a niggling injury. He missed the Blackburn game, but he looked good against Watford and tonight was precautionary, on 70, 75 minutes, to make sure he is okay for Friday night.
“He was very, very good tonight. He looked dangerous, he was a constant threat, Chrissy Willock started the game really brightly and earned his start tonight, so pleased for him, and to have people like Albert Adomah and Macca [Macauley Bonne] come off the bench… it bodes well.”
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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