(Bradbury, middle, a little easier to stop when you’re not giving him the ball right in front of the net)

As luck would have it, being beaten up by the Chinese Olympic team wasn’t the most brutal thing that happened to QPR this week. Friday night’s 5-0 loss to Southend United was Rangers’ 8th straight road defeat, and I’m still looking for video footage of the Hoops’ Simon Royce opening the scoring account for the hosts by aiming a clearance straight at Lee Bradbury’s foot.

After a dire showing in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Spain — a result that led the Guardian’s David Lacey to sneer “the way England played Arsenal’s Carling Cup team would probably have beaten them,” Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson found a time-honored way to make sense of Steve McLaren’s troubles : blame the press. From the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor.

The United manager suggested that McClaren’s players were struggling to replicate their club form at international level because they felt restricted by the prospect of strong criticism in the media.

“One of the biggest problems these days with the England job is the press themselves,” said Ferguson. “What is happening now is that the England players are fearing bad performances because of the reaction in the press. I think that’s having a detrimental effect on the team.

“The media think it’s their duty to do what they are doing but I don’t see how they are going to get any positive response from the way they treat England. Steve has not had a great deal of experience in terms of being a top manager but the job has gone to a man of fantastic potential and I think you should support him more because it would be a shame if that potential is not realised.

Ten years from now, you might regret all this because Steve may come back to club football and do exceptionally well.”

I have to admit, Sir Alex lost me on this one. McLaren’s stewardship of the international side is some sort of apprenticeship for club management? I’ve been hearing for years that England needs to lower their expectations, and I suppose at least one prominent Scotsman agrees.

The Offside was kind enough to provide a photograph of Zizou attending Tuesday’s Clippers/Knicks tilt. Though I remain disappointed we were not treated to an intermission headbutt of Bobbito Garcia, I hear Zidane is upset as well. Apparently, he was promised he’d have his photo taken with Matthew Modine.