This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Queens Park Rangers travelled to Swansea City on Tuesday night and came away with a point.
It wasn’t just the point that will likely have been pleasing for supporters of the club but the fact that the R’s managed to keep a clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium.
The game finished goalless and QPR succeeded in earning just their fourth clean sheet of the campaign to date. There was one main reason why–the changes that Mark Warburton decided to make ahead of the fixture.
The defence was completely shaken up after the R’s had lost their last three Championship fixtures. Ryan Manning, Yoann Barbet, and Angel Rangel all returned to the lineup, and it’s fair to say all of them did their job when it comes to the defensive side of the game.
Now, it’s up to Warburton to make sure that the first XI continues to keep the backdoor shut and find a defensive consistency heading into the final months of the campaign.
QPR host 21st-placed Stoke City on Saturday and the fixture will give a clear indication of whether the backline will revert back to inconsistency or show that they have learned from their previous errors.
A clean sheet is what the manager and his players should be focused on in Saturday’s game as Warburton knows that he doesn’t have to worry about his side’s ability to create chances.
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The R’s are among the highest scorers in the Championship but have conceded the third-most goals in the division and can’t expect to threaten the top-half with a defensive record like that. That is why Warburton now has to ensure no changes are made to the team ahead of Saturday’s game.
The key to breeding a good defence is to enable the players to have a clear understanding with each other and allow them to build strong relationships on the pitch.
If QPR’s backline can do that it should build a strong foundation for players such as Eberechi Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel can hurt the opposition, even if required to play on the counter-attack.