QPR players will miss McClaren but their momentum should continue

Steve McClaren is a top-class coach and there’s no doubt he will be a loss to QPR, but the players should be able to keep the momentum he’s given them.

In my experience, players are resilient and very good at learning different things from different coaches and continuing to practice what they’ve picked up. What McClaren put in place on the training ground before leaving for Derby will remain.

As experienced at the likes of Harry Redknapp, Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond are, talented people understand that they’re always learning too, and they’ll have picked things up from watching McClaren at work and will keep doing what’s been working so well this season.

The key is to maintain a momentum of confidence among the players, which it looks like McClaren played an important role in creating at QPR after their relegation from the Premier League.

McClaren, more than most, understands the importance of players’ mindsets.

After all, when he became Middlesbrough manager he took the unprecedented step of appointing a sports psychologist, Bill Beswick, who also worked with him in the England set-up, as his assistant.

Steve McClaren
McClaren had an important role at QPR.

So Redknapp could not have made a better choice when looking to freshen things up after the problems of last season.

The mentality at QPR this season appears to be much changed.

The so-called bad eggs, who failed to settle at the club for whatever reason, have left and their potentially disruptive influence has been removed.

The positive effect on the remaining players is obvious. There’s cohesion there now and my experience of working with players tells me it won’t change now McClaren has moved on.

The aim is always to equip players with what they need and let them get on with it. They’re used to being exposed to different coaches and methods.

Even one-club players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have worked with a number of coaches and been exposed to different methods. It’s all part of the game.

Redknapp and his team will make sure the momentum continues. It was Harry’s decision to bring in McClaren in the first place, so he clearly knows what’s needed.

Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Redknapp has shown throughout his managerial career that he’s willing to bring in the right people at the right time. He’s never afraid to bring talented people in to work with him.

So if he feels, even with the likes of Joe and Kevin alongside him, that a top-class coach is needed to replace McClaren, I’m sure he’ll find one.

QPR, on paper, should get in that top two. The issue there always seemed to be the mentality around the place and now that’s changed and the players are buying into a shared goal, they should be fine.

McClaren has gone but I’m sure the same – so far successful – processes will stay in place.


Dan Abrahams is a leading sports psychologist from west London who has worked with a number of clubs – including QPR – and high-profile players. He is also the author of two books; Soccer Brain and Soccer Tough.

For more information visit www.danabrahams.com



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