QPR boss Mark Warburton was not downhearted despite his team being pegged back twice in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Reading at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Nahki Wells put the hosts ahead after 29 minutes, but Reading got back on level terms almost immediately when George Puscas finished confidently after Ovie Ejaria’s stunning 50-yard through ball.
Jordan Hugill then marked his return to the fold with his seventh Sky Bet Championship goal of the season, before Sam Baldock got on the scoresheet for the first time in 2019 to take a point back to Berkshire.
While Warburton was disappointed with his side’s start to the contest and the defending leading up to Reading’s second goal, he felt some perspective was required heading into another home encounter with his former employers Brentford.
He said: “I thought we started the game off really sloppily and gave the ball away cheaply in the first 15, 20 minutes. It was a really good save from Liam Kelly [keeping out Baldock after nine minutes] and we deserved to be 1-0 down at that stage.
“We looked better in the second half, but to be 2-1 up and then give away such a poor goal is a kick in the teeth.
“You need to get out and stop the cross [for Baldock’s equaliser]. It’s schoolboy stuff. The players are not machines, they’re human beings who have good days and bad days. If that game is nowhere near our levels of performance, and we still get a point and we sit fourth in the table, then I’ll take it.”
Todd Kane was introduced at half-time in place of Angel Rangel, but Warburton allayed fears that the former Swansea stalwart had picked up an injury.
“We wanted to go three at the back and match them up,” the former Rangers manager explained.
“Todd’s got real energy. Angel has been outstanding for us, but I’ve got to look after him at 36 years old. If I ask him to march up and down that touchline like Usain Bolt, it might not be well received!”
Warburton’s opposite number Mark Bowen was pleased with his charges and, after just his second match in charge of the Royals and four points on the board under the Welshman, it appears that fortunes are already beginning to turn following the departure of Jose Gomes.
Bowen said: “We can take enormous confidence out of the last two games.
“I was a little bit critical of the boys in the dressing room for the goals we gave away. I thought they were avoidable, but we will recover well and be ready for Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“They are a group that’s desperate to do well for this club and the fans. There has been a change of manager, but the last manager didn’t do a lot wrong. Football is a brutal game.”
Bowen feels the club are viewed as a bit of a soft touch by some and is intent on changing perceptions.
He added: “I hate that label that if you play Reading, it’s going to be a nice game of football.
“Well, sod that, we want to be a hard team to beat, I want to be nasty and if we get that right, the quality we have in the team will take over and we’ll get points.
“We have got ambitions not just to be OK, but to push up this league. With our ability, anything is possible.”