Joey Barton: Villa caught QPR unaware because Sherwood did this

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton admits he was surprised by the way Aston Villa set up against his side last night.

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has told the London Evening Standard that Aston Villa caught his side off guard by setting up in a diamond formation last night.

Tim Sherwood changed his system to face QPR, and it was a switch the London side were not expecting, according to Barton.

As a result, the Claret and Blues were able to race into a 2-1 lead in the first-half, but as QPR got used to their opposition's approach, they grew into the game.

The R's ended up holding a lead going into the final ten minutes, but Christian Benteke's late goal rescued a point for his team and Barton complemented Sherwood's tactical switch after the match.

“Fair play to Aston Villa, they played a diamond in the first half and that caught us unaware," he admitted. "They have good young players with a lot of energy."

Sherwood will be pleased to have earned recognition for his brave tactical switch from Barton, but he would have preferred the three points.

Villa had identified their game against QPR as a match which they needed to win if they were to climb away from trouble, but a draw leaves both teams in the thick of a relegation battle.

At the moment Villa are three points above the drop zone, with QPR in 18th place, and both teams will know that they have to get some victories between now and the end of the season if they are to preserve their Premier League status.

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