BY NICK KITUNO
Mark Warburton rued what he described as a “softness” about Queens Park Rangers’ first-half performance as they were thumped 4-1 by Fulham in a west London derby.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored either side of Lyndon Dykes’ equaliser before substitutes Antonee Robinson and Bobby Decordova-Reid made sure of all three points.
The result puts a dent in Rangers’ early promotion hopes and is their third consecutive defeat away from home in the Championship, having not won on the road since a 3-0 success at Middlesbrough.
Warburton said: “There was a bit of a softness about us in the first half. The basics of duels and challenges. You can play all the nice football you like, but you’ve got to do the basics really well.
“We showed a little bit too much respect in the first half, summed up by the goal. A talented forward [Mitrovic] of course, but he has time to bring it down in the box and finish. That can’t happen. We could have been two down, Seny made a good save.
“The discussion at half-time was being more on the front foot, being more aggressive, playing forward, which we did at the start of the second half and then Lyndon [came on].
“We wanted an aggressive change. Lyndon gets a very good goal. At that point we are in the ascendency.
“QPR could have taken that position forward and maximised that position, and we’ve got to recognise that we can’t be soft, we can’t give away a goal of that nature. Everyone’s going: ‘It’s an outstanding header’ but we had three-versus-one and four-versus-one in the box. That can’t happen, and that changed the whole [mentality]. Suddenly you’re in the ascendency and suddenly bang, you’re 2-1 down again. Really poor third goal, deflection [for the] fourth goal.
“Listen, that happens, but I just felt we had a softness to us in periods of the game today, which is very unlike us.”
The R’s quickly found themselves a goal behind when Mitrovic chested down from Dennis Odoi’s cross to drill a right-footed effort into the bottom corner after just 10 minutes.
They responded early into the second half through Dykes, who had only been on the pitch briefly before getting on the end of Chris Willock’s through ball to round Marek Rodak to finish.
Fulham responded quickly and restored their advantage when Mitrovic glanced Neeskens Kebano’s inviting delivery in off the foot of the post.
Decordova-Reid added a third when a Jean-Michael Seri through pass enabled him to slot the ball past Dieng, while Robinson went alone before seeing his effort deflect off Jordy de Wijs and into the net in added time.
PICTURE: ROB AVIS
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