McClaren praises QPR players after Pulis blames referee

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis claimed poor refereeing decisions led to his side’s defeat against QPR.

Promotion-chasing Boro went down 2-1 at Loftus Road, where Nahki Wells netted the winner on the hour mark.

Wells scored after George Saville had volleyed home an equaliser for Pulis’ side to cancel out Pawel Wszolek’s early opener.

Pulis insisted referee Oliver Langford should have awarded the visitors a first-half penalty for a foul on Britt Assombalonga.

And he was unhappy with decisions made by the officials in the build up to Wells’ goal.

Pulis said: “We had an incident in their box, from a corner, where Assombalonga is actually rugby-tackled down and the referee is just five yards away from it and doesn’t give it.

“Then we’ve got an incident in the second half where an offside is given but their player had touched the ball last, so Jonny Howson is 100 per cent not offside.

“Not only does he give offside, but the goalkeeper (Joe Lumley) then takes it from the edge of the box from a rolling position when the incident has happened 25 yards away.

“We had four or five players then past the ball when they scored the second goal.

“It’s got to be an even playing field. The referee has got to look at those and we’ll see what he says.”

Boro are now without a win in four matches and have managed to score only three times during their worrying run.

And Pulis believes the lack of goals is causing his players to lose focus during matches.

He explained: “Because of the situation with us not scoring goals I think the team is trying their damndest to win a game of football.

“We’re better when we’re solid, and we’ve gone away from that a little bit in respect of trying to chase the goals.

“I think the players have reacted to the fact that we haven’t been scoring goals and in their desperation to score we’ve lost our shape a bit.

“We need a few breaks. We certainly don’t need decisions going against us like they did today.”

QPR manager Steve McClaren insisted his side deserved the win – their first in five matches.

“I think we deserved to win on the basis of the chances we created and the way we defended,” said the former Middlesbrough boss.

“I think it would have been a travesty had we not won this game. I’m really pleased with the players.

“I’m delighted with the win. It was a great win and a great performance.

“We showed great determination, could have scored more goals and defended resolutely right to the end.

“We had chances to score more and I thought it was a great performance by all the players.

“We had to defend for our lives and what really pleased me was that we battled and fought but some of our football, in what was a tooth-and-nail game, was very good.”

Rangers were down to 10 men when Saville equalised as they were waiting to replace defender Joel Lynch, who had gone off injured.

They regrouped and were back in front nine minutes later.

“This team never says die. It comes back and after our second goal we had something to hang onto,” McClaren added.

“We needed this win and it’s a big one for us. The three points are a big bonus for us.”