Leeds United boss Daniel Farke explains changes for QPR and reveals post-win dressing room message
The Whites hit the front early on through Crysencio Summerville and were the vastly superior side in the first half without adding to their tally. It was a more difficult second half for Leeds, although they again could have scored another goal or two before QPR finally managed to force Illan Meslier into action. The goalkeeper’s late save from Lyndon Dykes protected the clean sheet and ensured victory.
The game’s biggest talking point was a stoppage time red card for QPR keeper Asmir Begovic for a challenge on Patrick Bamford, although replays suggested there was no contact and both players intimated just that to Rangers boss Gareth Ainsworth.
Farke, who said he was too far away to be able to judge the flash point, preferred to talk about his team’s performance which is the kind they will need to produce on occasion if they want to challenge for promotion.
“I'm really happy and pleased,” he said at full-time.
"I told the lads today I'm really proud because you can be on a great spell like we were before Southampton but it's always the same, when there's one disappointing result the next game is unbelievably difficult. To grind out a result it's never champagne or fireworks, it's always hard work. I absolutely love when we play opponents off the park but these games, when it's so tough - we scored a brilliant goal but didn't score the second and let them live - everything can happen.
"Because you don't score the second you get more and more nervous. It's football. We've still dominated each and every statistic, but there's one scruffy situation, one ball goes through and thank God Illan was in the right position. Pretty pleased that we won and brought this tight lead over the line. To be there again with a clean sheet and answer a disappointing loss with a win is what you need if you're to be there to celebrate at the end of the season.”
Farke made four changes to his side after the 3-1 loss at Southampton, bringing Jaidon Anthony in for a first start and reintroducing Joe Rodon, Archie Gray and Luke Ayling. Jamie Shackleton missed out with a shoulder injury as Liam Cooper, Glen Kamara and Daniel James dropped to the bench. The hectic nature of this week was at the heart of Farke’s decision making.
"We've got three games in seven days and each game is different in terms of tactical necessities,” he said.
"We left some players out, Dan James with five assists, but some injury problems in pre-season and a little one in the season. Sometimes you can't take risks with players. We always need our whole group. I trust all my players. When you have such a busy spell, you have to give some chances to some players not involved before. It's important they use it. We return with the three points and a clean sheet so everything is good.”
Farke was delighted to be able to count upon Bamford late in the game, the centre forward giving Leeds momentum with his runs in behind and physical presence.
"We've missed him a lot,” said the German.
"To bring on a proven goalscorer and to have his experience to work his ball to the corner flag, his ability to keep the ball, win headers, was quite crucial.”