Sport Soccer

Sunday 17 December 2017

Warnock lets perfect start do the talking

Simpson 13, Connolly 18, Buzsaky 67
Brunt 36

New QPR manager rises above personal attack from his former chairman, writes David Instone

NEIL WARNOCK refused to become embroiled in a war of words with his former club Crystal Palace after making the perfect start to his managerial career at Queen’s Park Rangers. Warnock left Palace last week leading to comments from Simon Jordan, the former Eagles’ chairman, that he lacked “morality”.

Warnock, whose side earned a deserved victory, claimed he was upset by the remarks. “I’m obviously saddened by the comments but I don’t think I want to do my dirty washing in public,” he said.

“There’ll be an appropriate time to put another chapter in the book. We’re playing them soon and I’m looking forward to that. I’m glad they won (against Sheffield United) and I hope they stay up. Simon’s worried they’re going to go down, but they’re not going to get relegated.”

Warnock is still adjusting to his new role and confessed to struggling to get to know his new players. “I had to change the team-sheet at the start because I didn’t realise I had too many loan players in the squad. Poor old Marcus Bent pointed it out to me. He said, ‘I’m sorry gaffer but you’ve already got five, you can’t put me on the bench’. I’ll just have to make sure I read up on a few players before I put my next team-sheet in.

“When I came I wasn’t really aware of anybody other than Marcus and Mikele Leigertwood, who have played under me. I hadn’t got a clue about the others. But I did well on the names really because I’m usually a bit like Bobby Robson. There’s a coupleI can’t pronounce. I called (Adel) Taarabt ‘Tarbs’ and the other fellow (Alejandro Faurlin) ‘Ali’ because I can’t pronounce his name.”

Ironically, it was a mistake by Ben Watson, Warnock’s former Palace midfielder, that led to the opening goal. The on-loan Wigan midfielder lost possession and Taarabt capitalised with a cross that caused panic in the West Bromwich Albion defence; Jay Simpson was the beneficiary, scoring his 13th goal of the season.

Matthew Connolly made it 2-0 when he connected with Faurlin’s first-time cross and slotted through Scott Carson’s legs. Carl Ikeme, the QPR goalkeeper, made two excellent saves to thwart James Morrison and Watson but was powerless to prevent Chris Brunt from heading his 10th goal of the season.

Albion went in search of an equaliser but were undone by a quick counter-attack, which resulted in Akos Buzsaky floating a 35-yard free-kick past Carson, who could only watch helplessly as the ball looped over his head and struck the post before rolling over the line.

The result meant the visitors slipped to third in the table, but onloan Blackburn midfielder Steven Reid was delighted with his debut: “I have played a few games for Blackburn and it would be good to get a few more 90 minutes under my belt. We have six or seven games this month so it would be good to get up to match speed. This is a great opportunity to get out on loan and play in the league.”

Queen’s Park Rangers (4-3-3): Ikeme; Connolly, Stewart, Gorkss, Hill; Faurlin, Leigertwood, Ephraim (Buzsaky, 60); Simpson, Priskin (Vine, 77), Taarabt, (Ramage, 69). Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Borrowdale, Balanta, German.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Cech (Miller, 64); Brunt, Watson, Mulumbu, Thomas; Cox (Moore, 89), Morrison, (Dorrans, 68). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Mattock, Meite, Koren.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).

Booked: QPR Faurlin, Priskin; West Brom Cech, Brunt.

Man of the match: Connolly.

Attendance: 14,578.

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