Lambert refuses to blame Hoolahan

Wes Hoolahan was not short of moral support after missing a first-half penalty that could have sunk Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers.

Hoolahan fired wide from his 28th-minute spot-kick after skipper Grant Holt had been wrestled to the ground by defender Clint Hill.

But manager Paul Lambert said he would be happy to see the Irishman keep the job the next time City were awarded a penalty.

Hoolahan had scored confidently from the spot in the previous two matches.

'If he wants to take it, absolutely,' he said. 'If he is confident enough to take it I don't have a problem with him not hitting it.

'I spoke to him but there are times when that kid's been unplayable and his performances for me have been top class – and he scored two previous ones. It happens in a game and he will bounce back. I think, especially for Wes, it never preyed on his mind.'

Team-mate Andrew Crofts echoed Lambert's view when he said: 'Wes scored two before that so we're not going to hold that against him. He's been great for us.

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'He always creates things and he'll put that behind him because he's a great player.

'He's brave enough to go and take it so no one holds anything against people who miss penalties. He won't worry about that.'

City's run of scoring in 32 consecutive league games away from home came to an end at Loftus Road with Hoolahan's miss, but Lambert was delighted with the performance.

He said: 'I thought we were excellent, I really did. We were unlucky not to win it.

'We came here to win, we never sat and waited for QPR to come on to us.

'They are a really good side, you can see why they are up there. The crowd is right behind them - but I thought our crowd again were terrific for us. It was a really good atmosphere in the game.

'The lads were disciplined and threw their bodies into things that we had to do. It was a terrific performance by them.'

City stay third after 11 matches, seven points behind the leaders, but Lambert is making no forecast about whether they can stay there.

'If I could predict that I'm going to do the lottery. I don't know,' he said.