The slightly pessimistic title withstanding, the glorious away at QPR cannot be looked at in any other way than potentially one of those season defining games. It could all be very quickly forgotten.
It’s not so much the result, or so much the coming from behind. The fact that it’s our first Away win since February and lots of other elements. No, it’s more how we did it. The great team display, the performance of a much maligned signing, the bravery from Freedman to make a change that could have looked stupid. It all came together.
The old rule goes that new players, especially foreign ones take time to settle and gel into a team. The way Ryan Mendes and nelson Oliveira hit the ground running was wonderful. Mendes may have been largely an unknown to many defences but in this day and age ignorance is not something you can forgive a manager when we’ve all now seen Mendes YouTube reels which give a great indication of what he has. Oliveira has even played in this country, so these guys aren’t complete unknowns.
The unknown element was how this would stitch the team together. Seeing Walker out on the right with Mendes left and O'Grady as a tireless target man all game worked well. As Sky said it bought Lansbury forward more too. Walker changed for Ward at half time, but the performance stayed the same. Get the ball forward, O’Grady can knock it down or play it to another guy to cross, shoot, or whatever.
What was good to see is Vaughan playing well again. Last season hopefully seems to have been a blip. Now he has Mancienne to screen alongside him he can play his game better. And with Williams, Reid, Cohen and Osborn missing from the midfield, it gives a plethora of options.
As said, it’s not just that we won. Had we drawn or lost, there would still be positives to take from this game. QPR are one of the better sides, and the gal we did was concede was soft, both for Wilson backing off and for de Vries letting one passed that really should have been a save. If you consider the forward options QPR have then to limit them in the way we did was extremely good.