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Match Report – QPR 6, Cardiff City 1

Match Report – QPR 6, Cardiff City 1

I’ve enjoyed Bluebirds v QPR fixtures over the years. City’s 2003 play-off final win against Rangers at the Millennium Stadium is a clear highlight, while I will never forget Robert Earnshaw’s hat-trick at Loftus Road.

Cardiff won 4-0 and Earnie netted three times in less than 30 minutes during the second half.

I often think back to the day I was interviewing Cardiff City captain Mike Ford outside the Loftus Road ground after a League Cup win during the late 1990s and City’s team bus drove past on the way home.

After a moment’s panic Ford managed to stop the coach, clambered on and joined his happy team-mates.

Happy memories – a far cry from the horrendous team showing in London for this Championship clash. This outing to London was sheer torture for Bluebirds fans who made the trip.

Cardiff were hit for six – literally. Manager Neil Harris switched the formation to include three central defenders, with Leandro Bacuna and Jazz Richards in the wide berths.

The reality is that Bluebirds players looked lost, not fully understanding how the new-look defence would operate. Credit to QPR, who were excellent, but City made it far too easy for their hosts.

Rangers led 2-0 at half-time and added four more goals to make the score 6-0, before Will Vaulks netted a late consolation. Nahki Wells (3), Bright Osayi-Samuel (2) and Eberechi Eze scored the goals for QPR.

Cardiff were desperately poor at the back, simply not good enough when Rangers had possession.

Harris made two changes from the starting line-up for the win at Sheffield Wednesday. Bamba and Vaulks retained their place in the City side, having replaced Joe Bennett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who were ruled out by injuries.

“I’m hugely disappointed,” said manager Neil Harris. “I didn’t recognise my team out there, defensively. We weren’t good enough 1v1. We’ll be disgusted with the goals we conceded.

“First and foremost, on behalf of the group, I need to apologise to our fan base. They don’t deserve to watch that performance.

“Neil [Warnock] lost his job because of player performances. Well, I don’t owe the group anything.

“I support them and if they work for me great. Obviously, January is a busy transfer window.

“I’ve come into a group that’s got a great reputation as individuals and at times as a group. Well at times I don’t see it.

“The players need to look at themselves, individually and collectively. There are some big names. Do they do enough? Do they want enough? Do they do enough for the football club? Do they do enough day today?

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“I have to be really careful to isolate this 6-1 defeat for what it is, but some of the instances have re-affirmed what I know already.

“It is a reality check that the team promoted a couple of year ago isn’t the team of today.

“The players aren’t the same. Players are older, the group is different and, ultimately, are the characteristics in the group personality-wise and attributes to do that mentally and physically, there?

“We’re looking at trying to get some players out to free-up opportunity to bring some in. That doesn’t change for me.

“What players have done is highlighted that some of them can’t reach the standards I demand.

“I knew it was going to be bumpy when I took the job. I’ve been really pleased with the start I’ve had, how we’ve gone about it and a lot of the players buying into what I want.

“We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. All I can promise the fans who travelled is that it won’t happen again under me.”

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