The new boss had never previously lost a Premier League home debut as a manager, but that record looked under serious threat after just eight minutes when Brett Holman fired Villa ahead from distance. It was the worst possible start for the nervy home side, who saw Stephane M'Bia head wide and then Samba Diakite lash over as they attempted to make immediate amends.
QPR did manage to eke out a leveller 10 minutes after going behind as Jamie Mackie met a Diakite cross with a superb looping header.
In the second half, QPR were on top, with Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ryan Nelsen and Diakite all getting shots on target. Armand Traore tested Brad Guzan as QPR pushed for a winner, but Villa defended resolutely to earn a draw.