Mark Warburton thinks QPR should be focused on finishing in the top six this season after their unbeaten start to the season continued at Middlesbrough.
The Rs have now won back-to-back away games to make it seven points from the opening nine available to them after winning 3-2 at the Riverside Stadium.
And QPR had to do it the hard way too on Teesside, where they fell behind to Uche Ikpeazu’s seventh-minute penalty and they also had defender Moses Odubajo sent off four minutes into the second half.
The red card, for his second caution for fouls on Isaiah Jones, arrived two minutes after Middlesbrough captain Jonny Howson had turned Lee Wallace’s cross into his own net to level things up.
Six minutes after the dismissal Lyndon Dykes put QPR ahead only for Jones’ tenacity to create the opening for Matt Crooks to side-foot a lovely finish beyond Seny Dieng with 18 minutes remaining.
But with Middlesbrough sensing victory, QPR responded with the impressive Chris Willock making the most of space in the box to pick out the bottom right of former QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley’s net.
Warburton said: “A QPR supporter wants to see progress in the team. We came 13th and 9th and we want to see progress. I would be foolish to say mid-table, we need to finish better than last year.
“We have to improve all the data points so therefore our aim has to be top six. We will be there or thereabouts if we deliver our performances. To get away wins at Hull and Boro, that’s great.
“Pride is immense, to get pegged back at 2-2 with 10 men and then to win it as well as the board going up with 10 minutes on it. The players deserve enormous credit to a man.
“Chris showed his quality, he can take care of a football. He poses a real threat, he has an eye for goal and is a very talented player. He has everything in his locker.”
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock, whose side lost for the first time in the league this season, was frustrated with decisions from his players and referee Stephen Martin.
Boro had looked dangerous in the first half, with Ikpeazu causing many problems for the visiting defence. His goal arrived just five days after he found the net in the win over Bristol City at the Riverside.
Warnock, who hopes to have two more new signings before the end of the week, said: “We will have plenty of excitement this year, can’t fault that, it was a cracking game. I’m disappointed with goals, decisions, a mixture of everything really.
“We were soft tonight at the back, one or two could have put a foot in earlier. We were punished. Not naming any names.
“The goals conceded were poor. I will go in depth tomorrow on the training ground, but we have got to do better. They didn’t have to do much to score the goals.
“I thought Uche was super, I do need to go carefully with him really because I don’t want anything to happen to him. I thought Crooks off him was good too, and Jones.
“Then I see Charlie Austin headbutt Grant Hall and nobody else sees it. I thought he headbutted him. Looks like a straightforward headbutt, ref thought it was a clash of heads. Video is a little different to that.”
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