Leeds United centre-back Kyle Bartley described the club’s 3-0 loss at Queens Park Rangers as a “kick up the backside” and admitted the players had let a large away support down as the club’s new season got off to a sorry start.
The on-loan Swansea City defender refused to pull any punches but said he was hopeful that an early shock would prove a “blessing in disguise” by heightening United’s determination.
Head coach Garry Monk looked on as his first game in charge descended into a tough afternoon which QPR dominated from an early stage.
The hosts scored once in the first half and struck the woodwork twice before a Tjaronn Chery penalty put Rangers out of reach. Leeds were already beaten by the time Sebastian Polter swept home a third goal at the death.
The result drew fierce criticism from an away following of more than 3,000 and Bartley said: “It’s a disappointing result – a kick up the backside, I think, for the whole team.
“We wanted to come out here and make a bright start to the season. It wasn’t meant to be but I think in the long term it could be a blessing in disguise. We’ve got another game on Wednesday (away at Fleetwood Town in the League Cup) where we can right this wrong and hopefully kick on from there.”
United’s supporters packed out one end of Loftus Road but were given little to cling to as QPR sent Leeds to the bottom of the Championship at the end of the division’s first weekend.
“The fans have got up early in the morning to travel all the way down here and they wanted to watch a Leeds team perform,” Bartley said. “We didn’t do that on the day. We’re disappointed in ourselves. We let them down but I’d stress how much we need them.”
QPR took the initiative after only four minutes when former Rangers goalkeeper Rob Green – making his competitive debut for Leeds – failed to gather a dropping ball under his crossbar.
Green, 36, was brought in by Monk as a replacement for Marco Silvestri and the United head coach leaped to the keeper’s defence, saying: “I thought he did well.
“The first goal was a strange one with a lot of pushing and shoving. I haven’t seen it back but sometimes you get those decisions, sometimes you don’t. You’re on the flip of a coin.
“At the end of the day there will always be mistakes in games but I thought Rob did very well. It was the team that lost the game. We take full responsibility, all of us.
“Rob’s a very experienced guy and he’s done well since he’s stepped into the club. I’ve got no criticism of him at all.”
Monk, however, was left frustrated by the Qatari FA’s failure to supply international clearance for Pablo Hernandez in time for the Spaniard to feature at Loftus Road.
United signed the former Valencia and Swansea City forward on loan from Al-Arabi on Tuesday but were unable to include him in their squad today. Monk said: “He was due to be involved but the Qatar FA hadn’t made his clearance available, which is disappointing.
“It was nothing from our side and it’s a frustration that Pablo couldn’t be involved. We tried all we could all week.”