BY NICK KITUNO
Mark Warburton was left frustrated as his QPR players “didn’t do their jobs” in a late 2-1 defeat away to Birmingham City.
Charlie Austin’s goal shortly before half-time looked set to extend the Hoops’ unbeaten run to five in the Championship, only for Kristian Pedersen to grab an equaliser with eight minutes to go.
Substitute Alen Halilovic struck the winner three minutes later as the Blues fought back from a goal down to secure three vital points in their quest for Championship survival.
Warburton rued the chances missed earlier on in the second half and said the game should have been “finished off” by then.
He told QPR’s website: “We got the goal with a bit of quality out wide. A great ball in [from Todd Kane] and a good finish from Charlie.
“We were in control, and then, in the second half, we had to come out. We spoke about turning them. On this surface, it’s so difficult to defend and we did it really well from the start of the second half.
“Stefan [Johansen] had a great chance, we were in to finish. I think if that goes in, it’s game over. Two-nil, their confidence was low. A big chance to miss, we missed two or three more after that and it’s about the basics.
“It’s about winning your duels, taking your chances, and as I say, the last five, 10 minutes, they are going to throw on the giants and we have to deal with it. Up to a point, we did.
“To give away a soft goal like that and then allow a guy [Halilovic] with his left foot, it’s all left foot, we’ve got to be better.”
QPR’s best chances in the second half twice fell to Johansen, when he first blazed over from Macauley Bonne’s cutback before slicing an effort wide on the edge of the box.
Lyndon Dykes also went close but his effort was denied by Blues substitute Marc Roberts.
Birmingham drew level when Pedersen rose highest to guide home a cross from Roberts on 83 minutes. Ivan Sanchez then teed up Halilovic on the edge of the box to curl an effort beyond the reach of Seny Dieng.
Warburton added: “We just didn’t do our jobs. As I say, it’s the basics. You have to do the basic jobs really well.
“What does that mean? Defending intelligently, don’t give away cheap set-pieces, look after your box. If you have to clear our lines, clear our lines, get up together, marking.
“We defended the first [set-piece well], great header by Rob Dickie, didn’t come out marking. As I say, four came out and we left [Kristian] Pedersen. He’s 6’3”, he gets a header, that can’t be allowed.
“Then still we had some really good chances but just lacked that clinical nature in front of goal, we should have finished it off much earlier.”
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