Mark Warburton lavished praise on goalkeeper Joe Lumley for his ‘world class’ saves in their 2-0 win over Preston North End at the weekend, writes Alessandro Schiavone.
The 24-year old was on the receiving end of stern criticism by media and fans in recent weeks but shone as Rangers saw off the Lilywhites for the first time since November 2010.
Boss Warburton said: “The clean sheet is important because you guys [reporters] make a lot of it. Joe Lumley has had some criticism but today he was outstanding as he made some world-class saves.
“I am delighted for Joe, don’t forget that he’s only 24 and at that age a goalkeeper is a baby still. But the abuse he took on social media is outrageous.
“I think our genuine fans, if they knew some of the abuse players get, they’d be mortified, they really would. You would say don’t read it but they are 24 and of course they are going to read it. But the save he made low to his left late in the game was a world class save.
“He’s come through a couple of mistakes but he showed his quality, learnt from his mistake and stepped up today and credit to the crowd who have supported him and I’m so delighted for him.”
QPR had been in free fall prior to Saturday’s game as they succumbed to defeats in four of their last six league games
But the head coach believes the scoreline was an unfair reflection of his men’s performance more than once in recent weeks, insisting that his side outplayed Fulham and Derby County, despite coming up short.
He said: “It’s true that we hadn’t won in eight matches but it’s also about the performances, not just about the wins. Against Fulham we lost 2-1 but there was a lot of really good play and we didn’t take our rewards and I understand that this game is about that.
“November was tough for us but you saw our performance last week at Derby when we played really well and we followed that up today.
He added: “I have no doubt about the quality of Preston, they have had a really good run and start to the season and they are up there for a reason. You don’t get to sixth by Christmas by fluke, they are good at what they do and have very experienced players. But I am delighted with the good reaction by the lads.”
Midfielder Ilias Chair was one of QPR’s standout performers at the start of the season but was dropped for a second game in a row by Warburton yesterday following a month of November in which his influence on games had waned.
But the manager underlined the importance of rotation for the benefit of the squad ahead of the busy fixture congestion in the weeks leading up to Boxing Day.
Warburton said: “ Ilias is only 22 and I understand his desire to play in the Premier League but right now he has to work harder. Marc Pugh, who played in the Premier League and Championship, has had to be patient prior to today.
“But I can only play 11 players, although I’d love to field 12. It’s about the squad and we now play Wednesday, Saturday and then we go 21st, 26th, 29th, 1st, 4th…the games come thick and fast and it’s about the squad and being ready to play when they are called upon.
“I need fresh players and Ilias will get more than enough pitch time because he is a very talented player.”
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