‘Streetwise’ was the buzzword for Paul Lambert after the Sheffield Wednesday debacle.
We do need to be more streetwise but I think there are far more fundamental issues the head coach must address, some of which were of his own making on Saturday.
In simple terms, the team was unbalanced. Saville on left, Coady and Edwards in the middle – it was too cautious, too safe, too much about destruction and not enough about playing football to be effective.
With the game already lost at the interval his changes were equally perplexing; Connor Coady ending up on the right side of midfield for example.
There are two or three players who must come back into contention, but most important of all is a team selection that offers enough going in both directions.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink survived being embroiled in the corruption sting a few months back but floating around in midtable was deemed unacceptable.
One QPR supporter I heard speaking about his departure wasn’t unhappy to see the Dutchman go, saying the football was tedious at best. Seems to be familiar theme.
Tedious isn’t a word you can use to describe Ian Holloway or the teams he manages, so one imagines more exciting times lay ahead.
The encouraging debut win over Norwich was followed by a 3-0 thumping at Ipswich last weekend so the rollercoaster is already well and truly in motion.
It’s three wins, three draws and three defeats from their home games thus far, with 14 goals conceded (only Rotherham and Barnsley have shipped more) so Loftus Road far from a fortress.
As well as Karl Henry they have two forwards Wolves were heavily linked to last season in Conor Washington and Idrissa Sylla. In another twist, QPR came close to signing Bodvarsson in the summer before Wolves upped the anti and won that particular race.
There’s a generally accepted idea that last season’s players are reliable and will run around, whereas the new crop don’t put in the hard yards but are more technically blessed.
But I disagree that it has to be one group or the other. There needs to be a mix. The above eleven (with the exception of Stearman) is the team that won our last two matches against Newcastle and Brentford. Predominantly new players.
Equally, the other two wins we’ve managed against Reading and Blues came with Walter Zenga using last season’s squad with the addition of Bodvarsson. But that team was more balanced than Saturday with the likes of Mason and Wallace heavily involved.
And that’s what it comes back to – balance. We’ve got to get a mixture of qualities into the team rather than just setting up camp to be difficult to breakdown and hoping for the best.
For me, Hause and Iorfa are making far too many clumsy mistakes in and out of possession to be considered. Saville and Coady should also be replaced for more forward thinking alternatives.
Ikeme should also be back in goal without question. Lonergan was slow off his line in the build up to the second goal and although he’s capable of making some fine blocks, Ikeme is the more reliable all round performer.
Tough to foresee anything other than defeat after the misery of the weekend. My fear is that the defeat sends Lambert deeper into his shell in terms of team selection.
He’s talked about taking risks, going for it and playing on the front foot, which is all great. But you’ve got to have the footballers on the pitch who can do the damage. We didn’t have that Saturday.
I think QPR are very hit and miss, so hopefully we can at least capitalise on a few of their frailties while trying to disguise our own.
Up The Wolves!