McClaren on QPR’s defending, Rangel, Cameron injury, frustrating Villa and proving the doubters wrong

Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren spoke about a number of issues after his team extended their winning run by beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Loftus Road. Here’s what the Rangers manager had to say.

On whether the win was even more satisfying than beating Sheffield Wednesday

“Yes, without a doubt. You always need a big win just to see how far you’re progressing and going forward. We were satisfied (to beat Sheffield Wednesday) on Tuesday but this was a big one for us.

“They’re a good team. Wow – the attacking options they’ve got are formidable and we had to be at our best defensively in terms of a team to keep them out and to take the opportunity that we did and get a big win at home – and we’ve got one.”

On picking an unchanged team

“It’s three wins in six days and with the same team. There’s great character in that dressing room – a great spirit together. Tonight I’m so proud of that team for what they achieved and what they showed on the field; fighting for each other, winning blocks and winning headers.

“The longer the game went on we had quality as well going forward.”

On Villa boss Dean Smith claiming Rangers took turns to kick Jack Grealish


“I’ve got to say I wish we were that clever to rotate around to kick him!

“Jack Grealish is a player we had to stop and I thought we did that to a certain degree.

“I don’t think they took turns, I just think we had to stop him. He’s just that good a player – you think you’ve won the ball and you just nick him.

“They were all small fouls, not big ones. That really upset his rhythm, which we needed to do.”

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa

On frustrating Villa

“We said at half-time that we’d got them frustrated, which is one of the aims of the evening.

“We had to be physical. We can’t let Aston Villa play, because they’ve got good players. We just felt we were upsetting them and to keep that going during the second half.”

On Smith saying Villa should have had a penalty for a challenge by Joel Lynch on John McGinn

“I thought Pawel Wszolek should have had one when Neil Taylor pulled him back as he was about to shoot, so it evens itself out.

“I thought the officials were very good and handled the game well, with not too many yellows despite all the fouls.”

On keeping another clean sheet

“It’s always a platform. Wherever you go you’ve got to build from the back and you’ve got to be hard to beat.

“You can’t be open and concede goals. We were doing that in the first four games so we had to change and had to adapt.

“The signings have been beneficial for us. I think Geoff Cameron in front of that back four has been immense and Nahki Wells and Tomer Hemed have given us a threat.

“But there’s also the work the players have done on the training field and the work that Matt Gardiner and John Eustace have been doing in terms of organisation – and set plays are vital.”

On Geoff Cameron coming off

“He’s got a little tight hamstring. We hope it’s not too serious. I thought Scowen came on and did a great job as well.”

On Rangers’ defence

“I think they had a difficult beginning but Lynch and Leistner are really forming a good partnership.

“And the full-backs – Angel Rangel must be so far the signing of the season. He’s 35 years old, came on trial and we signed him and he’s performed so well.

“And Bidwell is playing while not 100% with his shoulder, so I’m so proud of them and the character they’ve showed.”

On whether he saw Rangers’ resurgence coming

“No, absolutely not after the first four games. We didn’t know when the next win was coming from.

“But I’ve got to say that we made the signings but the players, always from day one, were on board. There was a great spirit in the dressing room even when we were losing games.

“What we did was we stuck together. Many, many people doubted us. The main thing is that we never really doubted ourselves and we’re OK and going forward.

“But there’s a long way. This is the Championship, where yes we’re on a good run but lots of other teams take it in turns to go on good runs.

“You know the next defeat in the Championship is just around the corner and when are you going to win your next game?

“So we’ll look at Blackburn and will prepare for that from Monday but enjoy the weekend.”