Critchley defiant after QPR defeat

Neil Critchley insisted he saw signs that QPR are beginning to turn the corner despite the 3-1 defeat at Middlesbrough extending their dismal run.

Rangers have lost three matches in a row and four of their past five, are now without a win in 11, have won just one of their past 18, and one of their 12 games since Critchley took over as head coach in the wake of Michael Beale’s departure.

They competed well in a goalless first half against in-form Boro.

Critchley believes that showed they are capable of an upturn and that the team are still playing for him.

Asked if he felt he can steer Rangers away from trouble, he said: “I do. When I see the players play like they did today, in that type of atmosphere, I’ve got full belief that we can.

“We just need a bit of luck and things to go for us. It’s just not quite happening.

“All I can do is concentrate on trying to help the players improve. They need to feel my support.

“I saw a group that was together today. They’re still playing, in my opinion.”

Rangers, who were top of the table in October, remain 17th but are now just eight points ahead of the three teams in the relegation zone – all of which have played a game fewer.

The performance was an improvement on the midweek 3-0 defeat at home to Sunderland, though, which Critchley was keen to point out.

He said: “There was evidence there of the work we’ve done since Tuesday night.

“I didn’t see a team that was apprehensive, sitting in their own half and ‘covering up on the ropes’ so to speak.

“We were going for Middlesbrough and trying to take the game to them, through good organisation and having a plan, and the players did it very well.

“I was really pleased with our first-half performance. I thought we were excellent and frustrated them.

“We weren’t nervous or tentative and we won the ball several times in good positions high up the pitch.

“They started to get a bit of success and, the way it’s going for us at the moment, when the opposition are having those moments we can’t grind it out and it see it out and stay at 0-0.”

Critchley argued that the award of a penalty, which led to Boro’s second goal was “very harsh” and that the “game was slightly changing” at that stage.