If anyone remains to be convinced that Ian Holloway has turned things around at QPR, they should sit down and watch the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw at Leeds.
R’s fans can probably think of better ways to spend their time than watching a re-run of a goalless draw but their team acquitted themselves with such verve at Elland Road.
They outplayed and outfought a Leeds team who are nailed on for the top six, more or less.
Let’s find out more about how the Super Hoops kept their fine record against United intact.
Change is as good as a rest
The last three games have Ian Holloway make fourteen team changes and use various different systems, but the same quality of performance has run throughout.
Ollie is learning about his squad and with no prospect of promotion or relegation, this is as risk-free an environment as he will ever have to experiment.
Idriss Sylla and Yeni N’Gbakoto ran Barnsley ragged on Tuesday, before Matt Smith and Conor Washington came in as straight swaps and shone at Leeds.
This interchangeability of personnel shows that Holloway and Marc Bircham are teaching the whole squad their individual roles and they are responding.
When Jordan Cousins, Steven Caulker and Jack Robinson return to the fold, the competition for places at the club will only heighten.
Setting the tone
Key to this performance was the manner in which QPR started the game.
The first goal-kick Rob Green took was met by a full-pitch press and Grant Hall made two key clearances when Darnell Furlong had been beaten on the inside.
The game-plan, to frustrate, was immediately clear.
It would be a mistake to label this as negative, though, as while they consistently had eleven men behind the ball Conor Washington had the best chance of the game only to be denied by the legs of former Ranger Rob Green. He should have done better.
Keeping the home crowd quiet at this early stage was essential and they had to wait until the 43rd minute for their side to create a chance as Nedum Onuoha blocked Kemar Roofe’s shot.
There’s only one way to beat them, but you can’t get round the back
Statistics show that Rangers concede very few chances down the middle of the pitch and they blocked this part of the Elland Road pitch up completely.
Massimo Luongo covered acres of ground in the middle of the park and Luke Freeman is looking a natural in his slightly unfamiliar central role.
The back three was outstanding; they all took it in turns to pick up Chris Wood and found their own way to nullify his threat.
Onuoha led by example and put in a nigh-on faultless display, while Grant Hall couldn’t be learning alongside anyone better at this level and he excelled in the air.
It was only QPR’s second clean sheet in five months but goodness me, you wouldn’t know it.
Pride is back in the shirt
QPR fans are revelling in watching a team play with pride again.
They have been treated to some fine football down the years but also place a high value on hard work and sheer commitment to the cause, sadly absent in some recent years.
Jamie Mackie and Rob Green had a long catch-up at the end of the game by the tunnel and Hoops fans will hope they were reliving their 2014 playoff triumph at Wembley. A new contract for Mackie being an issue, incidentally, that remains to be resolved.
That team was built on a strong core and hard graft. If Rangers can continue to develop these qualities, there’s no reason why in a year’s time they can’t be in the same position as Leeds are- fighting it out for a place in the Premier League.