Warburton insists QPR should not be written off

QPR boss Mark Warburton says his players and staff shared frank discussions this week and are determined to silence their critics against Luton on Sunday.

Rangers fell out of the top six for the first time this year on Tuesday where they were replaced by the Hatters, following their win at Coventry, but Warburton said his side should not be underestimated despite a poor run of form that has seen them win just one of their past seven matches.

Warburton was seething after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Cardiff after Rangers squandered a 1-0 half-time lead to allow the Bluebirds back into the game following a poor second-half display.

“For us to simply move on to the next game was not acceptable,” Warburton said.

“I think you always have to review and have an honest assessment of the performance.

“We were totally in control of that game at 1-0, should have been two-up and then took the foot off the gas, became casual, let Cardiff back in the game with two goals in five minutes and paid the price for some very sloppy work when we should have been out of sight.

“We have to recognise that three valuable points were dropped there. We should have controlled that game, should have been better. We let ourselves down.

“It’s not often I lose my rag, the players know that, but as a group the players and staff were very frustrated by the last 30-35 minutes.”

Rangers’ visit to Kenilworth Road has become even more significant given the recent form of the home side, who Rangers have beaten in four of the last five meetings since the Hatters were promoted to the Championship in 2019, including a routine 2-0 victory at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium in November.

Warburton is expecting a hostile reception for his side but insists there is no extra motivation needed for his side other than getting their promotion push back on track.

“We understand the nature of the game on Sunday and what it means to so many people, so it’s important we recognise that and respond to it,” he said.

“Our fans after Cardiff need to see energy, a focus and a desire to go and deliver a performance.

“It’s the chance to deliver a good performance and show what we are about.

“Lots of people are making some derisory comments about us, that is great. We know we have quality in the ranks.

“We are not where we are this season and the how we played in the second half of last season without having that quality.

“We have good experience, youthful energy and a strong bench and we are in a strong place and we have to maximise that.”

The recent run of form has led to questions being raised about Rangers’ play-off credentials but Warburton insists his side have shown over the last 12 months they are a team that should be respected.

“It is amazing how people four weeks ago were saying we were nailed on for automatic promotion and are I then I saw a guy of TV the other day saying we will be lucky to finish mid-table.

“This is football, this is pundits and they have to fill their column inches.

“But we know we are a good team and have the quality but now we have to go and show it, plain and simple.”