QPR manager Mark Warburton praised goalkeeper Joe Lumley for his response to “outrageous” criticism as he helped secure a 2-0 win over Preston.
Ebere Eze scored both goals as Rangers secured a first victory in eight matches – and their first clean sheet of the season.
Lumley has been guilty of some costly mistakes this term and admitted in an interview this week that he had been affected by abuse on social media.
But he was excellent in a much-needed win for the R’s and produced a fine second-half save by diving to his left to keep out a powerful strike from Billy Bodin.
“He’s 24 and in goalkeeping terms that’s very young still,” said Warburton.
“These guys take a lot of abuse on social media which I think is outrageous. You might say ‘don’t read it’, but at 24 they’re going to read it.
“I think our genuine fans, if they knew the abuse some of our players get, they’d be mortified, they really would.
“He’s come through a couple of mistakes and showed his quality. He was outstanding for us today.
“He’s learned from his mistakes, has stepped up, the crowd supported him and I’m delighted.”
“The save he made late in the game, low to his left, was a world-class save.”
Eze’s brace took his goal tally for the season to nine and further enhanced his growing reputation.
The England Under-21s forward scored at the second attempt after being set up by Geoff Cameron and added a second from the penalty spot after Marc Pugh had been tripped by goalkeeper Declan Rudd.
“He was very cool and he’s now scored nine goals,” said Warburton.
“We’ve got Ebere, Nahki Wells and Jordan Hugill, so we’ve got front players scoring goals which is what you need. The clean sheet also takes the pressure off the defence too.”
Preston manager Alex Neil admitted his side are badly missing Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson, who are among several players sidelined.
North End have failed to score in a run of four consecutive defeats and have dropped out of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.
Neil said: “They’re very creative players for us and they’re proven to make a difference at this level and when those players are missing it’s always going to be difficult.
“I think we have got guys who are capable of getting goals and being creative but maybe haven’t shown that so far.
“We can’t fault the players for a lack of effort. They always give everything they’ve got.
“I think it’s natural for the boys to get themselves a little bit down. We just need to shake that off because the simple fact is – and I said this to them after the game – you’re going to go through these spells.
“It’s not as if we’re expected to go and win 80 per cent of our games. There will be sticky spells for us. I think every one we’ve had since I’ve been here has been when we’ve had people missing.
“We need to come out the other side. We need to go and get points on the board.”
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