Mark Warburton said QPR’s 2-1 win over Luton at Kenilworth Road was one to savour as his side moved up to fourth spot in the Championship table.
Rangers had been on a poor run of form, having won just one of their previous seven matches to slip out of the top six – replaced by Luton, who led 1-0 at half-time and whose only defeat at home this year was to Chelsea in the FA Cup.
But second-half goals from Andre Gray and Rob Dickie clinched the three points and Warburton admitted the criticism his players have faced in recent weeks served as motivation for them.
“We’ve had this ‘massive’ dip, people have been writing us off, but we are here fourth in the table but now we focus on the Forest game on Wednesday night,” Warburton said.
“I think most people expected us to lose today. Given some of the comments I have read this week I was surprised we even turned up.
“;QPR go there as lambs to the slaughter’ was a comment I read from some guy. Really? QPR are in freefall was another.
“The players are not stupid. They are professional athletes, but you can’t give it the ‘rah, rah, rah as motivation’ – it is a much higher level than that.
“But regardless of that, you still have to apply yourself on the pitch and stand up.
“But it’s amazing how fickle people are. Last week it was doom and gloom and we will be lucky to finish mid-table. Now everyone is jumping around. We just have to stay calm.”
Warburton left Chris Willock out of the starting line-up for the game before his introduction in the second half saw him deliver the corner that was scored by Dickie.
Willock has been nursing a knee injury in recent weeks but Warburton said the decision to him on the bench was tactical as he wanted to negate Luton’s strong pressing game by selecting a physical midfield.
“We knew we had to make sure we met the physicality, pace and power of a strong Luton side who have been in great form – especially at home,” Warburton said.
“We wanted to turn them. We knew they wanted to press us, Blackburn did it the other week, but we didn’t respond well.
“It is not pretty sometimes, but it worked, but we were much better going forward in the second half as they tired after a strong start.
“What you can’t be is two or three down by the time they do reduce their press and then allow them to sit back and defend it.
“You have to recognise their strengths and match them, then apply the gameplan and in the second half it went well.
“There are still 30 points for us to play for and teams above us have played more games so we have to recognise it’s all about Wednesday now, but no-one should be making an opinion on the team at this stage.”