It was a bad day at the office for QPR as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against 10-man Bristol City.

The Hoops struggled to make the most of their numerical advantage as Lee Johnson’s side soaked up the feel-good factor at Ashton Gate to kick-on in their hunt for promotion.

With that in mind, there’s plenty of talking points for us to discuss.

A tactical nightmare

It was enough to have Ian Holloway waking up in a cold sweat as any tactical plan set out was thrown straight out of the window.

It was clear from the first moment that Bristol City were going to dominate possession, and as such the onus had to be on QPR to retain a rigid system in order to soak up the pressure.

Sadly that didn’t happen.

The centre of midfield, which has been one of the main highlights at Loftus Road this season, was a shell of what we’ve come to appreciate, as Josh Scowen, Massimo Luongo and Luke Freeman simply drifted through the game.

The partnership between the three was extremely effective at the start of the season with each player being clearly drilled on his responsibility in each phase of play, something which seems to have disappeared in the last two weeks.

Each of the three looked keen to make something happen as they broke out of midfield, but it looked like no plan was in place to occupy any spaces left behind, meaning the Robins passed through the midfield with ease.

As for the attack, Conor Washington and Aramide Oteh looked a real threat when they first lined up together against Burton Albion, but have come unstuck against two extremely organised defences in recent weeks.

In fairness to them, they barely had a kick for the first half of the game, and in the second the team went for a more direct style of play as the ball was lofted up to them; a system which simply won’t prove fruitful for two strikers hardly renowed for their aerial prowess.

Sadly for QPR, a team as well-drilled as Bristol City won’t allow these mistakes to go unpunished as that proved to be the case.

‘We crumbled mentally’

It happened last week against Middlesbrough and it happened again yesterday as Bristol City all-but killed off the game with their first goal.

Ian Holloway’s team appear to be lacking in confidence, as they struggle to work their way back into a match after going behind.

As the old saying goes, winning breeds confidence, but on the back of just one defeat in six before the Middlesbrough clash, it’s a concern as to why the Hoops are struggling for morale in the camp.

If there’s one thing Ollie is known for it’s forging an excellent team spirit, and it’ll be up to him to lift his players before the clash with Barnsley next week.

Pawel Wszolek

The winger was a notable absence on the QPR squad as the team-sheet broke at 2pm.

Having not featured since the FA Cup clash with MK Dons, Wszolek has been the subject of speculation surrounding his future at Loftus Road, with his unexplained absence appearing to add fuel to the fire with the club’s representatives unaware of any fitness issues.

QPR manager Ian Holloway says Pawel Wszolek 'isn't going anywhere' as he explains absence against Bristol City

However when asked about his situation post-match, Holloway confirmed that the Poland international had suffered a concussion midweek, hence why he was left out for the trip to Ashton Gate.

He also confirmed that Wszolek will not be leaving the club this month, which will certainly be welcome news to the QPR fans who will be delighted to retain one of their favourite players.

Red card?

It was a moment which changed the game, but not in the way you would have expected.

While moments like this usually work in favour of the team with the numerical advantage, it was quite the opposite at Ashton Gate.

Bristol City manager says former Aston Villa defender shouldn't have seen red in victory over QPR

The Bristol City fans, who had been fairly vocal up until that point, chose to take on the role of the 11 man as they did everything they could to urge the team forward.

It certainly paid off as the Robins got the opening goal just before half-time, giving QPR a huge mountain to climb, despite having an extra man on the field.

Lee Johnson said post-match that he was delighted with his side’s reaction, and it just goes to show the positive feeling pumping through the club at present.

As for QPR, it simply showed an inability to capitalise a clear advantage.

A big job for Ollie

Ian Holloway described his team’s performance as the most disappointing of his career, and who could blame him?

Ian Holloway says he has 'to take a good look at himself' after QPR crumble against Bristol City

His team looked low on confidence and short on ideas, despite boasting a numerical advantage for the majority of the game.

QPR have integrated a number of youngsters into the first team fold in recent weeks, but the responsibility has to be with the senior players to guide them out of this predicament.

As new members of the senior squad, the young guns will be soaking in everything around them, but if the senior players appear to lack confidence, then why would the youngsters feel any different.

One thing is for certain, Ian Holloway will have to use every ounce of his experience, and his squads’ experience, to pick up the pieces after a hugely disappointing result.

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