Luke Freeman was left out against Aston Villa because a yellow card for the QPR playmaker would have meant a two-match ban, Ian Holloway has explained.
A booking would be the fiery Freeman’s 10th of the season and the international break coming after Saturday’s game at Fulham was another factor in Rangers manager Holloway’s decision.
Holloway explained: “It was self-preservation, because if he’d have got booked he would have missed two matches and those two matches would have gone over three weeks, so his training regime (would have been affected).
“He loses his temper (on the pitch) sometimes, Luke. Sometimes he’s quite nasty. So it wasn’t that I couldn’t trust him, I just tried to do what was right for the club.”
Freeman is in line for a recall for this weekend’s derby at Craven Cottage, which fellow midfielder Josh Scowen is set to miss after being admitted to hospital with a suspected burst appendix.
Freeman still made a telling contribution in the 3-1 victory at Villa Park, coming on as a substitute and scoring Rangers’ third goal.
The first was scored by Ryan Manning, who replaced him in the starting line-up.
“Luke didn’t sulk, didn’t moan, and when I put him on he scored,” Holloway said.
“Luckily for me, I gave him a rest and let Ryan come in and he scored. That’s what you want as a manager – choices that are good ones.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the other evening and the way Luke Freeman took my decision, came off the bench and did it.”
‘Do your job’
Holloway insists will not hesitate to make changes to his side – and suggested that message has previously not been well received by his players.
“I can drop whoever I like, whenever I like,” he declared.
“They’ve just got to do their job – and their job is to stop moaning and just do what I tell them. That’s the new QPR.
“You want them to accept it in the right way. The simple thing is: ‘Hang on a minute, I’m doing my job, you shut up and do yours. In your contract, does it say you’re going to play every week? Or have you got to earn that right?’
“And if you’re not picked and you’re sat on the bench, your job’s to come on and make a difference. So, just do your job. It’s simple.
“At last I can do that here. Because when I first started saying things like that, people would sulk and try and get me the sack by not trying too hard. But they don’t do that anymore, do they? Thank God.
“I’m delighted for them. I haven’t got a player here who doesn’t want us to win. I haven’t got a player here who doesn’t want to play. I haven’t got a player here who is happy not being picked.
“I’m telling you they’re working as a group and I’ll try to keep this going.”