QPR sack Steve McClaren ahead of Canaries clash

PUBLISHED: 14:31 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 01 April 2019

Steve McClaren has reportedly been sacked ahead of QPR's game against Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Steve McClaren has reportedly been sacked ahead of QPR's game against Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Queens Park Rangers have sacked manager Steve McClaren ahead of their trip to league leaders Norwich City on Saturday.

QPR slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to struggling Bolton on Saturday, leaving them with just one win in their last 15 Championship matches.

Rangers are 17th in the table on 44 points, eight points clear of the relegation zone with seven games to play, so should be safe from the drop.

Chief executive Lee Hoos said: “Making a decision such as this is never easy, particularly when you are talking about someone as professional and dedicated as Steve.

“We are grateful to him for all his efforts during his time with us. It is well documented that we are in a period of transition as we work hard to make the club financially stable. With that comes challenges, not least the cutting of the wage bill while aiming to remain competitive.

“As we look to the future, and taking recent results into account, we feel now is the right time to re-evaluate where we are.”

Bizarrely, the one game they’ve won in the league in 2019 was beating promotion hopefuls Leeds 1-0 at Loftus Road in February – alongside FA Cup wins over Leeds and Portsmouth.

The former England manager succeeded Ian Holloway last summer but has struggled for consistency, with only four teams conceding more than their 61 goals and just 46 scored in 39 games.

Director of football, Les Ferdinand, added: “Steve has worked incredibly hard during his time with us but as we start to make plans for next year we feel this change is necessary now, rather than wait until the end of the season, or risk having to make such a decision early in the new campaign.”

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Several national newspaper reporters had posted on Twitter this morning that McClaren was on his way out, with respected freelance Pete O’Rourke suggesting the decision has already been made, with the decision confirmed at 11.45am.

The Rs have placed assistant manager John Eustace, a former Coventry and Watford midfielder, in caretaker charge of the first team while they begin the search for a new manager.

Speaking to the club’s website, chairman Amit Bhatia said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Steve for his hard work during his time with us, and wish him well for the future.

“I would also like to thank our fans for their patience and unwavering support during what has been a very difficult run of results, at a time when the club faces well-documented challenges.

“We must now work towards ending this season positively and building for the future.”

The Rs head to Norfolk on Saturday for a televised Championship clash with the Canaries, who are five points clear at the top after seven wins on the spin.

Norwich edged a hard fought 1-0 win over QPR in West London back in September, when a Teemu Pukki goal proved decisive.

Speaking to West London Sport after Saturday’s home loss to Bolton, McClaren had said: “We had 60 percent possession, 33 crosses, 21 shots – we did enough to win two games of football there.

“But we didn’t, (conceded) two bad goals and that’s our problem – we can’t keep conceding goals.

“It was our strength when we had a good run in the middle of the season and got to eighth in the table. We were hard to beat.

“It’s frustrating for everybody. We can keep saying it wasn’t our day, but it certainly wasn’t. The run’s not great at all.

“I can see and the crowd can see that the effort is there, the endeavour is there, we’re just making mistakes and getting punished for them.

“At the moment we need to score two or three goals to get a result and that puts pressure on the forwards and defenders.

“We have to solve it. The only way to do that is on the training ground.”

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