Harry Redknapp praised Luke Young after QPR’s 2-0 defeat at Blackburn – the injury-plagued defender’s first competitive appearance for two years.
Young, who has been troubled by a hip condition since being signed from Aston Villa in 2011, was brought into the side because the likes of Clint Hill and Nedum Onuoha were unavailable.
And Rangers boss Redknapp said: “I thought Luke Young gave it everything at the back. It was a difficult night, his first game, but I couldn’t fault his effort.
“They just looked bigger and stronger than us. We had problems with the team – Clint Hill, Nedum Onuoha and Aaron Hughes weren’t fit – and they had big centre-forwards.
“It was difficult for us. Their front two had good movement and to be fair they looked a strong team. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and go again.”
The defeat was Rangers’ sixth in their last eight away matches and they are now 13 points behind second-placed Burnley.
But Redknapp played down the significance of their poor form ahead of the play-offs, insisting their promotion rivals are also stumbling.
He said: “Derby have been losing, Wigan lost at home to Millwall tonight. That’s how it is.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up from the disappointment of not being in the first two and try to make sure we make the play-offs now.”