Mark Warburton says QPR fans must understand the need to make changes to the team in light of the packed fixture schedule.
It comes after some criticism on social media of the manager’s decision to leave out Ilias Chair for the defeat against Birmingham on Saturday.
Warburton taking off Charlie Austin and regularly substituting Chair has also attracted some criticism in recent weeks.
Warburton said: “It’s important to get the message across because supporters will naturally say ‘Keep him on. Why aren’t you playing him? Why isn’t he on for 90 minutes’? It’s because he can’t. We’ll lose them (to injury).
“I was delighted to get even a half out of Charlie on Saturday. It was touch-and-go whether he could even play. Likewise Stefan Johansen. Likewise Geoff Cameron.
“I looked after Lee Wallace because of the amount of miles he’d done and I wanted to make sure he was available for us.
“We really have to look after the players. We’re privy to information the supporters are not.
“Ilias Chair for example; his high-speed runs were down significantly in the previous game.
“Here’s a young guy who loves his football and wants to be on the pitch every minute.
“But when the data’s telling you that the legs are heavy and the tank’s empty, you’ve got to look after them.
“If you don’t then you lose them to injury. And if you get a two-week injury now, you’re missing five games because of the schedule. So we have to take care.”
Wednesday’s home match against Barnsley will be Rangers’ third fixture in the space of a week and will follow away trips to Birmingham and Preston.
“We’ve got to get it across (to the fans) that these players are being challenged in a way never seen before,” Warburton said.
“You get some very bizarre comments (from fans) but we have to look after the players. There’s a reason for it.”
Meanwhile, Jordy de Wijs will make another appearance for QPR’s development side on Tuesday afternoon.