Hughes and his men can turn things around at QPR
It only takes one fact to make football fiction. The inconvenient truth, that QPR are bottom of the Premier League going into tonight’s game against West Ham, is all the excuse the mischief-makers require to make Mark Hughes’ life difficult.
The logic, for what the red-top tabloids call a flyer, goes like this: sooner, rather than later, QPR owner Tony Fernandes will require a bang for millions of his bucks. Anyone who survives in the piranha tank of Formula One does not shy away from savage decisions if the situation warrants them. Hughes needs to prove he is on the right lines – fast.
Otherwise, so the contrived conspiracy theory goes, he may not survive the international break. With crushing inevitability, the name of Harry Redknapp will be offered as the panacea for all QPR’s ills. He has been around long enough to instinctively understand the value of free publicity, especially if he doesn’t give the speculation credence.
The reality is a Redknapp for Rangers rumour will have the same shelf life as the Redknapp for Leicester, Southampton, West Ham, Blackburn and Ipswich rumours, which have all circulated in the past fortnight. Unless I am reading Fernandes entirely wrongly, he is as engaged as ever by the attempt to rebuild the club from the bottom up.
Hughes is working to a five-year plan, overseen by technical director Mike Rigg. The latter is one of the new breed of technocrats in football, a capable character who played a central role in Manchester City’s development. He left them a month before they became champions, because he believed in the potential of the QPR project.
The recruitment policy has two phases. The first involves signing senior pros with good habits and Premier League pedigree, such as Ji-Sung Park. The second, a more ambitious policy of pursuing top-class players from further afield, has been foreshadowed by the arrivals of Esteban Granero from Real Madrid and goalkeeper Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.
Mistakes, such as the signing and almost immediate rejection of Rob Green, are inevitable and timely, given West Ham’s visit to Loftus Road tonight. Rangers’ performances are better than their results at the moment, but that will change. There is too much quality to panic prematurely.
It pains me to say this, but don’t believe everything you read. Hughes deserves a little more respect.
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Watch QPR live on BT Vision:
QPR v West Ham, 7pm, 1 October, Sky Sports 1
QPR v Everton, 3.30pm, 21 October, Sky Sports 1
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