Dodgy things prophesies.
Too often they become self-fulfilling. On Saturday morning Neil Warnock's newspaper column was emblazoned with a declaration that "We will get turned over now and again – but I'm going to enjoy every minute." Well maybe not every minute.
If Warnock enjoyed the period between the 67th and 79th minutes on Saturday afternoon, when his newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers team meekly conceded three goals to a Bolton side who had not won away in the Premier League since last November, there must be a streak of masochism in his make-up. In losing 4-0 QPR were not so much turned over as tossed aside.
Unless Warnock can make positive use of what promises to be a hive of hyperactivity at Loftus Road over the coming fortnight Rangers are in for a season of unrelenting toil. It used to be said that every promoted side needed one more quality player in each of their three departments – defence, midfield and attack. On Saturday's evidence that would appear to be a minimum requirement at QPR.
Warnock is aware of this. "We do need one or two players and I am confident we can get them before the end of the transfer window," he said. But this will depend on the money being available and that situation will become clearer only if and when the £100m takeover of the club by Tony Fernandes, the head of Lotus, is completed. "I have just got to hope things get sorted and we move on," Warnock added but time is short and the Premier League programme waits for no one.
The fixture list has been kind to Rangers. They will not encounter any of the big teams until late October and will be hoping to gather a respectable number of points from imminent encounters with Wigan, Newcastle, Wolves, Aston Villa and Blackburn before meeting Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City in quick succession. But unless there is a considerable improvement defeat will soon become a depressing habit.
Apart from an encouraging start, when Adel Taarabt was linking well with the new strikers, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell, QPR looked increasingly out of their depth against efficient, disciplined but hardly-awe-inspiring opposition. Taarabt was inclined to dwell on the ball, indulging in too many touches, and could have taken a hint from Kevin Davies's immaculate first-time lay-offs as to what was required against Premier League defenders.
That said, Rangers' sluggish defending said most about what they need to learn fast if they are to stay up. Gary Cahill's opening goal for Bolton in first-half stoppage time, while it was superbly struck from beyond the right-hand corner of the penalty area, would have been prevented had QPR had the wit to close down the centre-back before he could shoot. And while Danny Gabbidon was impeded by a team-mate when he turned Chris Eagles's low shot into his own net Ivan Klasnic was allowed too much space inside the penalty area when he scored Bolton's third and nobody picked up Fabrice Muamba's well-timed late run to get the fourth from Klasnic's pass.
"We defended poorly and got punished, which is what happens in the Premier League," Warnock said. "Until the second goal we created some good chances and could have scored. You have to look at that really rather than commit suicide. I am not happy we lost 4-0 but sometimes you have to smile through adversity."
Loftus Road had to grin and bear it from the third minute when Kieron Dyer, still pursued by wretched luck with injuries, was carried off with a damaged ankle, though happily with no bones broken, to the last, when Clint Hill saw a straight red card after butting Martin Petrov in the chest. Rangers are talking about appealing but this would appear to be the least of their problems.
Bolton were more like the team who reached the top six last season before tailing away at the end. Cahill"s all-round performance emphasised the loss they will suffer if he is sold before the end of the month. "He has got feet which belong to a centre-forward," said Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager. If there is any logic they should shortly belong to Arsenal.
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