- Chairman Fernandes once again Tweeting his support for Manager, Mark Hughes: "Won't be happening. For the one millionth time. Hahaha. Stability. "
EXCLUSIVE: After being criticised in these pages by Martin Samuel, the QPR manager responds in his own words... 'I'm angry, the whole club's angry, so now WE MUST WIN
By MARK HUGHES
PUBLISHED: 17:00 EST, 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 17:28 EST, 16 November 2012
Make no mistake, Saturday's game with Southampton is massive for both sides and a potential launch pad for us in the Premier League.
Our chairman, Tony Fernandes, has called it a must-win game — and I can’t argue with that. As I said after the game at Stoke last week, we can’t keep simply playing well without being ruthless.
Only that ruthlessness will get us away from the foot of the table and only a consistent run of results is going to keep us out of trouble.
Crunch clash: Hughes is under no illusions as to what his side must achieve against Southampton
It would be easy to make excuses and point out the injuries to the likes of Andy Johnson, Fabio, Park Ji-sung, Jose Bosingwa, Armand Traore and Samba Diakite over the course of the season so far.
They’re not excuses but they have been a factor in where we find ourselves. The squad has been improved over the summer but we still can’t replace those guys like-for-like at the moment.
Through all that, we’ve shown we can play good football and that’s come out in games against Chelsea, Everton, Spurs and even at Stoke last weekend. Again, I come back to the need to be more ruthless when we’ve been on top.
Despite everything, if anybody thinks there’s a sense of panic among the players and the staff, they’d be wrong. There is a great potential at this club and we have to start realising that potential as soon as possible.
The players are angry. Angry they’ve not got the results they think their football deserves. Angry they’ve let down the fans, who’ve been superb. Angry the club is in this position.
If there wasn’t that anger there, I’d be worried. As a manager, you want the players to have that fire, not to be moping around feeling sorry for themselves. If that was the mood around the training ground, then I would be worried and we’d be in trouble.
As I said, I’m not panicking. Of course I’m upset, only a fool wouldn’t be upset when you get to November and you are in the relegation zone and there’s nothing in the victory column, no three points to our name.
But I’ve been here before when I first took charge at Blackburn. We pulled out of that poor situation and emerged a stronger group and a stronger club. That taught me time, talent and hard work always pay off. I know we have all of those qualities at Rangers. Last season when I arrived at Loftus Road it was tough. We were charged by Tony and the board with saving QPR from relegation and that’s what we did.
Yes, it was tight but the home wins against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Stoke towards the end of the season were the key to our escape. That’s the kind of form at Loftus Road we have to re-discover. Gritty, tough, hard- working and disciplined, those are the qualities which will see us right.
I read Martin Samuel’s column in these pages on Wednesday. I respect Martin’s views but if I had taken to heart half the things that have been said or written about me by him and others over the years, I would have walked away from football before I’d even started.
He talked about my track record and reputation being tarnished beyond repair by QPR’s current position. Firstly, it’s not about me at this stage, it’s about the players, my staff, the fans and the board. It’s about QPR. If I worried about my own reputation or about my ego being damaged, I wouldn’t have survived in football as a player or a manager for as long as I have.
Secondly, I truly believe every club I’ve ever managed I’ve left in a stronger position than when I arrived.
At Blackburn, we saw the club clear of relegation, finished sixth in my second season, 10th the next year and seventh in my final season. We also reached an FA Cup semi-final and regularly beat the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
When I arrived at Manchester City, the club wasn’t in anything like a sound financial state and in my first month we were tasked with selling to raise cash.
Ruthless: Hughes is angry his team have dominated games but failed to win them
But we oversaw a huge change in structure and culture once Sheik Mansour arrived and leaving them with the likes of Vincent Kompany and so many others remains something I take real pride in.
I was only at Fulham a year but we identified talent such as Mousa Dembele who they sold for a club record in the summer at a huge profit as well as finishing eighth and being profitable.
None of this buys QPR three points, I know that. But what it does do is underline the work I and my staff put in at different clubs and why there is still so much self-belief at QPR.
With the help of Tony and the shareholders — who’ve been nothing short of magnificent in their support — I feel QPR are a stronger, better club than it was when we arrived.
There’s been a huge overhaul of the scouting structure and we’re identifying top-class talent from across Europe, bringing in players of real pedigree and character.
The academy has made huge strides in the nine months we’ve been here and I honestly believe QPR will never be in a position where they nurture somebody like Raheem Sterling but lose him to Liverpool for just £500,000.
As one of the board said to me the other day, we’re not building something at QPR for six weeks or six months, the work we’re doing here will see the club survive and thrive for the next six years and beyond.
Obviously what counts more than anything, though, is getting that elusive first win against Southampton today. That’s what matters, that’s what will lift the whole club and the supporters.
The belief is there. The character is there. The determination is there. We know we’re better than the league table tells us.
We just have to start proving it. Daily Mail
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Dump Sparky and you will go down
UNDER PRESSURE ... but Terry Venables says QPR must keep faith in Sparky
UNDER PRESSURE ... but Terry Venables says QPR must keep faith in Sparky
Last Updated: 17th November 2012
MARK HUGHES should NOT be sacked even if QPR fail to win again today.
Many say the Rangers boss will deserve the axe if his rock-bottom team do not register their first league victory of the season at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.
But I simply do not agree.
I know Sparky has spent a lot of money bringing in 12 new players for this season.
I know my old club have not lived up to expectations so far this term and at times have performed terribly.
I know this fixture is one the Hoops will think they should win.
And I know another defeat or draw would make it 12 GAMES without a win and keep them anchored to the foot of the table.
But what would be the point of sacking Hughes?
I do not believe there is one.
One of the main factors in Rangers’ poor start to the campaign is the major overhaul Hughes gave his squad in the summer.
He made a dozen new signings and it is only natural they will take time to gel.
Granted, he might have expected them to knit quicker than they have. But they have not been helped by injuries and a lack of confidence among the players, which has snowballed after their poor start.
And getting rid of the manager now would not necessarily solve all of QPR’s problems.
In fact, it would more likely just cause bigger ones.
A new manager would almost certainly want to make more new signings of his own in January. And then the club would be back to square one, waiting for new players to gel with the second half of the season well under way.
I would stick with Hughes.
I am not saying that because he played for me at Barcelona and I am a fully paid-up member of the managers’ union. I am saying that because, in football terms, I genuinely believe it would be the best for Rangers in the long run.
They may not have won in their first 11 league games and they may have scored only three top-flight goals at Loftus Road this season.
They may even have two fewer points at this stage of the season than the Derby team of 2007-08 — the worst in Premier League history, who got relegated with 11 points.
Yet, even though it might not seem like it at the moment, I believe there are some causes for optimism.
The biggest is the relationship Hughes has with Tony Fernandes.
The chairman has backed him in the transfer market and he continues to back him during this sorry start.
Fernandes has been criticised for tweeting too much. Social networking is not for me but I do not think it matters.
I suspect Hughes will continue to not mind either as long as he has his chairman’s support.
I hope I am not putting the mockers on it by saying this, but their relationship seems watertight.
And when you are in this situation, that counts for so much.
It is one less thing for the manager to worry about, meaning he can get on with the more important matter of trying to turn things around on the pitch.
If the relationship at the top is solid then that filters down through the club.
Now Rangers may be struggling, but more hope for them is that they are showing glimmers of improvement. They were by far the better team in the first half at Stoke last Saturday but, as on many occasions this term, they failed to go ahead when they were on top.
And when you are struggling for confidence, you are always liable to make a costly mistake and that happened as a defensive slip gifted Stoke a second-half goal and 1-0 win.
Despite what some may think, Rangers are not dead and buried yet and nor will they be if they fail to beat Southampton.
They desperately need a victory, more for confidence than anything else, but they must realise that even draws in their situation are valuable.
If they can’t win a game then they must make sure they do not lose it.
A point here and there will slowly restore confidence and victories will follow. They face a Southampton side whose boss Nigel Adkins is also under pressure.
It seems absurd that a man who has led a club to two successive promotions is now fighting to save his job. But that’s football.
Yet history has taught us that wielding the axe too quickly gets you nowhere. And I hope both clubs at Loftus Road today remember that, whatever the result. The Sun
MARK Hughes reckons he will not only avoid the sack if QPR lose at home to Southampton today – but incredibly, the Rangers boss believes the club is on for a top-half finish.
The gaffer’s optimism flies in the face of facts, namely Hoops are rock bottom of the Premier League and without a league win so far.
But Sparky insists he will keep his job, and he has the players to move the club up the table.
“I hope we can finish top half, and we still have the capacity,” he said. “We feel we now through our (bad) period and we can kick on.”
The Rangers defence decimated by injury and suspension has been a revolving door, and their manager cast envious eyes about him at more settled squads in the top flight.
“Off the top of my heads there are probably sides like West Brom and Everton who have been able to pick the same four or five (defenders) for every single game – and we haven’t had the same benefit, and not through any fault of our own," he added. "We’d now like a clear run.”
Hughes insists a squad packed with winners at European and domestic level can deal with adversity – just as he ironically did in the twilight of his playing career at Southampton.
He said: “Our players come from clubs that are used to winning, and the fact they stayed there show they have all the attributes to be in this battle.
“I had the same experience – and it was difficult initially, but you get on with the job.
“I came from Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, and went to Southampton – and we had a shocking start.
“But we turned it around and it was a shock to the system, but you use the qualities that got you to the top in the first place.
“Esteban (Granero) and Jose Bosingwa are introverted, but they get on with the job, and I see things every day that gives me no reason to doubt them.” Fulham Chronicle
Mark Hughes and Nigel Adkins go head to head in 'el sackico'
Queens Park Rangers and Southampton are at the bottom of the table and, having spent millions in the summer, their managers are under mounting pressure
This is not how it was supposed to be for Mark Hughes. When Queens Park Rangers escaped relegation on the final day of last season, Hughes vowed that the team would never again find themselves fighting for their lives and that he would instead help them live it up in the top half of the table. Lavish expenditure in the summer even led to talk of a tilt at Europe, the club giddily pointing out after the capture of Júlio César from Internazionale that Rangers now had four Champions League winners in their ranks.
Hughes fancied that everything was in place for him to show he had made the right decision to walk out on Fulham a year previously in search of greater upward mobility. He may even have felt that he now had the scope to prove Manchester City were foolish to jettison him in favour of Roberto Mancini in 2009. Instead, it is the wisdom of Hughes's choices that currently looks dubious, as QPR are bottom of the Premier League and winless after 11 matches, eight points worse off than they were at this stage last year under the Welshman's predecessor, Neil Warnock.
"Our aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top half and I still think we can do that," says Hughes, but others are not so sure and doubt that Hughes will make it to the end of the campaign. game between QPR and 19th-place Southampton has been dubbed "el sackico".
Nigel Adkins's Southampton are one of the few Premier League clubs who spent more than QPR in the summer – the others were Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester giants – and they, too, had lofty dreams, Adkins declaring boldly their intention "not just to survive but to thrive" in their return to the top flight after a seven-year absence. With the clubs at the foot of the table, both now stand accused of wasting their money. Failure to provide evidence to the contrary could cost the managers their jobs and, particularly in the case of Rangers in view of the size of the salaries they offered to lure players such as César, José Bosingwa and Park Ji-sung, even imperil the clubs' future.
Both spent big, but in different ways. Whereas Southampton's recruitment has been derided as imbalanced – too much on strikers, such as £12m for the Uruguayan Gastón Ramírez, and not enough on defenders, plus too much on players who have never played in the Premier League – one of the criticisms of Hughes is that he has invested in big-name players who are so accustomed to success at glamorous clubs that they are of little value when a bid to break into the elite becomes a battle to avoid relegation. Supporters have already questioned whether players such as Bosingwa, Park and Esteban Granero have the stomach for a fight after coming from Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid respectively. Hughes insists such concerns are misguided.
"They come from clubs that are used to winning … but the fact that they've played at those clubs tells you that they have all the attributes to battle," says Hughes, who believes his own playing career provides proof of his point. "I came from Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea and went to Southampton and we had a shocking start to the season. It was a shock to the system because it wasn't what I was used to, but we turned it around. You do that by using the qualities that got you to the top in the first place. I see things every day at training that don't allow me to doubt the players in any way."
Questions have also been raised about Hughes's method. Or rather, supporters have wondered whether he actually has a method. A comparison with newly promoted West Ham United seems apposite: Sam Allardyce also recruited new players in the summer but each one has slotted into an obvious plan. There has been less evidence of such clarity at QPR.
At Blackburn Rovers Hughes earned acclaim for producing a well drilled team that exceeded the sum of its parts, and the same, perhaps to a lesser extent, was true at Fulham; but the QPR experience is more akin to his Manchester City days, when his team occasionally looked shoddy defensively and incoherent going forward. One wonders whether having greater resources panders to Hughes's ambitions of grandeur and leads him to neglect the rigour on which he made his managerial name. Offering Rob Green high wages to join from West Ham and then putting him on the bench as soon as César becomes available could be considered an indication of a club high on ambition but short on focus.
Hughes, however, rubbishes that notion. "When you have a bad period people will ask questions like 'What are you doing on a daily basis?' and 'What are you doing to address the weaknesses of the team?', but I am very confident that anyone who comes here and questions how I prepare my teams, how we train, the intensity we work at, I can answer every question anyone asks."
One persistent question relates to set-pieces: only Fulham have conceded more goals from them than QPR this season, but Hughes scoffs at claims he does not work on defending corners and free kicks. "That's not right. That would be a huge oversight."
So why are QPR so low? Why have they scored eight goals in 11 matches and conceded more than anyone except Saturday's opponents? Hughes reckons it comes down mostly to bad luck in the form of injuries. "We haven't yet had the opportunity to play the best 11 consistently. If I had been able to keep the same back four and same team for 11 games then I would suggest we would not be in this position," says Hughes, who protests when it is put to him that his summer investment should mean he has the squad to cope with injuries.
"People say that but I have 25 players like everyone else. I don't think we've had any one player in the squad who has played in all games. I'm sure the likes of West Brom and Everton have had four or five players that they've been able to pick for every game. Even in games where we've had a little bit of continuity we've had to change personnel in the back four and five in the early parts of the game. If you don't have stability then it will affect you."
While injuries have been a factor, it is also true that QPR have destabilised themselves, either as Hughes willingly juggled his lineup or, most alarmingly, because of needless red cards, such as the one shown to Stéphane Mbia that changed the course of October's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Southampton, too, have been guilty of sabotaging themselves, mainly through defensive blunders, and the outcome of this match could come down to which team keeps their heads most at a time when there is talking of the losing manager's rolling. Guardian
Exclusive – Warnock: QPR have lost some of their soul due to foreignersFormer QPR boss Neil Warnock believes the club are struggling because of the foreign players in the side are taking time to gel in their squad.
Current Super Hoops manager Mark Hughes brought in 11 players during the summer with only two of them, Robert Green and Andy Johnson, being English.
And Warnock, now in charge of Leeds United, feels the amount of player joining the club from outside of the Premier League has led to their poor form so far this season.
He told Drive Time: “They’ve got so many good players. It’s alright having good player but you’ve got to get them gelling and that’s not possible at the moment.
“It’s not just this season. We played quite well last season [without winning games]. It’s an enigma but I just think they’ve lost a little bit of the soul of the club with so many people coming from abroad, but that’s the manager’s choice.
“I felt three or four sensible signings would have been sufficient to add to [the team I left]. Obviously I would have gone English to get that dressing room [together]. I thought it was a great dressing room.
“I suppose Mark has been used to foreign players and with the agents involved it’s easier to bring in foreign players but gelling them is a little bit more difficult, no matter how good they are.
“The results haven’t been good enough and they’ve got to turn it around because it would be a worry with the wage bill what it is now to carry on the second half of the season like they have done the first.”
And the former Super Hoops boss believes the club’s owner, Tony Fernandes, will stick with Mark Hughes despite their poor form.
He added: “Tony has appointed him so he’s got to stick with him. He’s been more than supportive of him.” - CLICK TO LISTEN
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