Where will QPR finish under Ian Holloway?by Mike Holden / 07 August 2017, 10:38Tweet
Ian Holloway returned to the dugout in November after nearly 18 months working as a Sky pundit, and he weathered a harrowing start of six straight defeats before guiding Rangers to 50 points by the March international break. The season didn’t end well, though. The 54-year-old squandered most of the credit he had built up by tinkering with formations and losing seven of the remaining eight matches, culminating with a 4-0 hiding at Norwich. Summer business has been underwhelming with only Josh Scowen from Barnsley rocking up at Loftus Road.
There are two sides to Holloway: the curious intuitive who loves the intellectual challenge of solving tactical puzzles, and the passionate motivator who can sometimes connect with a group of players on a spiritual level and lead them to incredible feats. Sadly, the former has to be tamed - by a winning system, usually - before the latter can truly emerge. What the madcap Bristolian achieved at Plymouth and Blackpool was stunning but the same guy with the same principles never got out of first gear at Leicester and Millwall.
"I understand why people are saying ‘why aren’t we making signings?’, but we’ve made too many in the past and that’s inhibiting me now because we haven’t got the money. We’re trying to build an identity of what we want to do, and it’s not easy. I want the players to be more demanding of each other, have expectations. I did something similar at Blackpool. In the end, the dressing room ran itself and managed itself. We’ve got to get rid of our minus goal difference."
Holloway insists he has settled on a single formation and style of play but it will be interesting to see how long he remains loyal to that if the early results aren’t favourable. The squad turnover in the Tony Fernandes era has been ridiculous, so creating a collective identity among a first-team squad of around 40 players is never going to be easy. If they can avoid being dragged into trouble at any stage over the next ten months, that would constitute a decent campaign.
Prediction: bottom half