Warburton defends Johansen after QPR defeat

QPR boss Mark Warburton defended Stefan Johansen after the Norwegian missed a glorious chance to probably seal victory in the 2-1 defeat at Birmingham.

Rangers looked to be easing to a fifth win in six games after Charlie Austin’s first-half strike.

Johansen should have wrapped up the game early in the second half when he was put clear by Chris Willock but blazed over the bar.

Birmingham then hit back with two quickfire goals in the final 10 minutes, leaving Warburton frustrated at his side not closing out a win on a poor and rutted playing surface which saw little quality football played by either team.

“The pitch is really, really poor, which is why you didn’t see a good game of football,” Warburton said.

“You saw too many balls lumped forward from both teams and it was so hard for players to make good decisions.

“Defenders just had to put their foot through it because it was hard to get the ball under control.

“We just had to get in behind them and turn them and we managed to do that but didn’t finish our chances.

“In the one bit of quality in the first half we scored through Charlie and we looked in control but we didn’t do the ugly side well enough in the final five to 10 minutes.

“Stefan had a huge chance. He’s done so well to get in there, but it’s taken a bobble on the pitch and if it doesn’t, he finishes those nine times out of 10.

“I thought we were in control of the game up until the final 10 minutes and dealing with them. But you just have to bury that chance. You are then 2-0 up and you win the game.

“But we didn’t defend intelligently and let ourselves down.”

Warburton made three changes to the side from the one that drew at Preston and defended his decision to withdraw Austin 10 minutes into the second half for Lyndon Dykes and leave Ilias Chair on the bench for the whole game.

“We have to look after them. Ilias is a young player who has had a lot of loading. We just have to take care of him, look after Charlie too,” he said.

“I wasn’t sure if we would get 45 out of him or 60. We got 55.

“Some of these are guys that have not played a full 90 minutes and we have another game midweek.

“It’s about getting them fit and also keeping them fresh.”