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  • By Julian Taylor

Fine margins cost QPR today, admits disappointed Warburton

Mark Warburton insisted that QPR didn’t deserve to leave the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium empty handed following a 1-0 defeat to Reading.

Michael Olise celebrated his 19th birthday with an 88th minute winner – a moment of top quality in an otherwise taut game – which stunned the R’s, who had earlier enjoyed good spells of play, only for an ultimate lack of sharpness in front of goal.

Ilias Chair cracked a shot off the post in the second half for the hosts, only for Olise to curl home with an almost identical effort to keep the Royals in the play-off zone.

For QPR, however, they drop to 19th in the Championship. The Hoops last tasted victory on 24 November against Rotherham United – and this proved to be the latest bout of anxiety for the west Londoners. In the broader context, with only three wins in their last 17 games, these are uncertain times for Warburton and his players.

It was a disappointing day for the R’s fans too, as 2,000 of them were allowed back into the stadium under current Covid guidelines. QPR will also now have to wait and check on the fitness of Bright Osayi-Samuel and Osman Kakay who picked up knocks in the second half.

“It is frustrating and I can bemoan the fine margins at this level but it is at the end, 1-0 to Reading,” admitted Warburton. “It was a world class finish and I don’t think the boys deserved this.

“It will be another tough test on Tuesday (against Stoke City). We lacked a bit of quality on the final ball, the cross, the touch. Sometimes you have those runs when you lack that little bit of quality. We were up against a very good Reading team.

“If you lose a game 3-0 you can see where the problems lie. But when you have a result like that it is very frustrating. It was the same at Brentford and Bristol City. They are the fine margins. We need, though, to put the ball in the back of the net as good performances count for nothing at the end of the season.”

Warburton, meanwhile, paid tribute to the excellent vocal backing from the QPR fans who were able to attend a live game for the first time in 288 days.

He added: “I thought the fans were tremendous but it was a big disappointment not to give them what they wanted. It was great to hear proper fans. I thought they were superb and they saw what it means to the players."

Reading boss, Veljko Paunovic, was understandably happy with the outcome.

"We kept to our game plan - everyone delivered today," he said. "We brought a cake out at breakfast time at the hotel for Michael and sang for him, and we did so again after the match. I'm very pleased with our performance."


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