McClaren praises QPR and wants Cousins to step up

QPR manager Steve McClaren admitted his players continue to surprise him after they continued their march towards the play-off places with a 3-0 win at home to bottom side Ipswich.

Rangers, beaten in McClaren’s first four league games in charge, have steadily climbed the Championship table since that awful start.

A third win in a row lifted them to eighth, just two points away from the top six.

McClaren said: “We just said ‘Don’t throw them two good results away; be professional, do your job and keep a clean sheet and we’ll always have opportunities.’

“That’s what they did. They were very professional. I’m really pleased with the performance.

“They’re getting a bit more belief that they can win games, and they should do because with some of the performances and results we’ve had they should be getting more belief and confidence.”

Rangers face a challenging spell as they will be under a January transfer embargo as part of the club’s Financial Fair Play settlement and have a number of injuries.

Those sidelined Geoff Cameron and, with Massimo Luongo now set to fly out to play for Australia at the Asian Cup, McClaren is looking to Jordan Cousins to fill the midfield void.

He explained: “We’ve got injuries and Luongo now goes for a month.

“People need to step up and it’s a tough period for us, but t​his squad​ keep​s​ surprising me and they’ve done it again today.

“We’re going to miss Mass. He quietly goes about his business, does his job very effectively without people really noticing​,​ and we’ll see how much we miss his presence in that midfield.

“It’s up to Jordan. Jordan will have to step in there and we’ll have to cope without him (Luongo).”