Mark Warburton was thrilled with his side’s tenacity in defence as ten-man QPR held on to claim all three points with a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday. 

Rob Dickie opened the scoring with a thunderbolt after 15 minutes at the Riverside to give the Rs the advantage, before Lee Wallace doubled the lead three minutes later, with Yannick Bolasie pulling one back for the hosts near the half-hour mark. 

And even after Seny Dieng’s dismissal for bringing down Duncan Watmore with half an hour still to play, Rangers’ dogged defence saw them cling on to the win and claim a first win on the road in four league games. 

The character at the back to hold onto the lead as Boro threw everything forward in the dying stages of the game was something that delighted Warburton, with the win in Teesside putting them into the top ten of the Championship with four matches of the season remaining. 

“We had to go out and block crosses, win tackles, get bodies in the way, we had to work hard, and we did that today,” Warburton said. 

“They put a real shift in and we had to because if we hadn’t then we would’ve paid the price.

“Having gone 2-0 up and then conceding a soft goal we had to defend well but finding the right balance and we have today, and the lads deserve an enormous amount of credit.

“The key thing is to remain on the front foot, you have to still press out, we still had one up top and then we made the change and went for the four at the back, we had to make sure that Lyndon [Dykes] wasn’t isolated and could still hurt them on the counter.

“They were still taking risks, but we remained calm, continued to still move the ball well and we knew we could hurt them.”

The Rs came flying out the blocks in the northeast and were duly rewarded as Dickie claimed his third goal of the season with a blockbuster effort 15 minutes in, with the centre back firing in a rocket from all of 25 yards to break the deadlock. 

Three minutes later and Rangers were two goals to the good, as Lyndon Dykes’ willingness to chase down an inerrant cross was rewarded as the Scotland International’s ball back into the centre was met by Wallace, who duly headed home to make it 2-0 with less than 20 minutes on the clock. 

Bolasie then notched a header of his own before the half-hour mark to half the deficit, with the battle between two teams who have little more than pride to play for serving up a goal-laden start to the game. 

And the drama continued before the first half drew to a close, with Dieng having to be at his best to deny Bolasie and Watmore from bringing the hosts level, before the shot-stopper was given his marching order on the hour mark. 

With Watmore clean through on goal Dieng made the early decision to try to meet the ball, but only succeeded in connecting with the striker 30 yards from goal and was shown the red card, meaning he will miss this Tuesday’s trip to Swansea City as a result. 

Stand-in goalkeeper Joe Lumley had to be at his best to keep out George Saville when he took to the pitch, as the visitors put their bodies on the line to claim all three points and bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to Rotherham United in midweek. 

And Warburton is keen to see more performances of a similar ilk in QPR’s remaining four matches of the season, the Rangers boss wanting his side to finish the season as high as possible and build momentum ahead of the next campaign. 

“Throughout the first twenty, twenty-five minutes I thought we were very good,” Warburton said

“We went with a very attacking line-up, we wanted to go man for man and expose them on the ball and try and dominate the football and we did that.

“Rob Dickie then hits a screamer into the top corner from thirty yards, then we get a well worked second goal and we are in a good position.

“We give away a really soft goal and of course the sending off in the second half changed everything, but I thought to a man we really stood up, we showed great quality, we worked behind the ball, we saw Lyndon working tirelessly, we did well.

“It was a great response from the disappointing trip to Rotherham on Tuesday, but I want us to push on now, see what we can get from the last four games and cement ourselves in the top ten and build towards next season.”