Ian Holloway said he felt he had no choice but to take Massimo Luongo off at half-time against Aston Villa.
QPR, beaten 2-1 at Loftus Road, initially expected to be without Luongo, who has been on international duty with Australia and only returned to London on Friday.
But Rangers boss Holloway opted to start with the midfielder – only to replace him at the interval because he was struggling.
Holloway said: “Because Massimo had travelled around the world with Australia I had to bring him off because of how he felt.
“That left me, once we went a goal behind, one decision short in terms of being able to put an attacking threat on.
“If we’d have been one up, I’d have put Darnell Furlong on and put Jordan Cousins in midfield and that would have given us something to protect.
“When you’ve only got two (substitutions) left and you go 2-1 down, it’s not ideal.
“Massimo’s been a magnificent part of my midfield three who basically pick themselves every week because they’ve been doing so well.”
Holloway, whose team took the lead through Jamie Mackie’s 18th-minute goal, was unhappy with the all-important decision to award a penalty against Rangers in the final seconds of the first half.
Albert Adomah – a QPR fan – equalised from the spot and scored again in the second half to give Villa the points.
Holloway said: “I’ve looked at the handball. It does get to you.
“Is that deliberate? Did he have time for it to be deliberate? The referee’s given it, I think he’s wrong and so do my lads.
“Villa started the second half brighter because they’d got that little tonic.
“I still felt we deserved something out of that game, but we didn’t get it.”