Sheffield United loss highlights how QPR must improve against the top six

Nahki Wells of Queens Park Rangers reacts after missing a chance on goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers at Bramall Lane on January...

David McGoldrick's header proved the difference, as Queens Park Rangers poor form against the promotion hopefuls continues.

David McGoldrick of Sheffield United celebrates with Enda Stevens after scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers at...

Although there was not much between the two sides at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon, Queens Park Rangers were beaten for the fifth time this season by teams in the top six. 

David McGoldrick's header gave Sheffield United a 1-0 win and ensured a league double over the R's, moving them up to second in the Championship table in the process. 

 

QPR put in an admiral performance, but in the end it was to no avail with a lack of quality in the final third clearly evident. It was a similar story in the reverse fixture at Loftus Road, with United running out 2-1 winners on that occasion. 

Defeats against West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City and Leeds United make up the rest of the defeats and, from manager Steve McClaren's perspective, he will want to remedy this form in 2019. 

Steve McClaren, the Queens Park Rangers manager shouts instructions during their 7-1 defeat in the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers at The...

Other than The Hawthorns drubbing, Rangers only lost by the odd goal to Norwich and Leeds, and it is imperative McClaren reminds his players of this when they square off again. 

Victory over Middlesbrough before Christmas proves the west Londoners can mix it with the best in the league, but they must be more consistent and resilient if they are to keep in touch with the play-offs. 

Jordan Cousins, Darnell Furlong and Joel Lynch of QPR celebrate their victory during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Middlesbrough at Loftus Road on December...

Saturday's loss saw Rangers slide down to 11th in the table, but still four points off Derby County in sixth. Admittedly, the vast majority of QPR fans will be delighted with how the season has gone so far but, if more points could be taken from the top teams, there is no telling how far Rangers can go. 

Injuries have hampered McClaren's squad of late and, although QPR have showed a lot of grit and determination in recent games, more must be done against the top sides if Rangers are to realise their true potential. 

David McGoldrick of Sheffield United and Josh Scowen of Queens Park Rangers compete for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers at...

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