QPR’s recent terrible form which has seen them sitting just above the relegation zone culminated in the sacking of Neil Warnock. However the imminent appointment of Mark Hughes, especially in the transfer window should be cause for optimism for QPR fans.
Mark Hughes record
Wherever Hughes has gone Hughes has done an adequate job at the very least. At Blackburn Hughes turned a relegation threatened side into European contenders. Especially in the context of the clubs recent form this seems a remarkable achievement.
His remit having taken over Blackburn was to keep them in the Premier League, which he did and in his second season he guided the club to a sixth place finish and a UEFA cup spot in the process. Hughes created a side with real quality as well as a ‘physical’ style of play that made them tough to beat and made Ewood Park a difficult place to go for any side in the Premier League. In all four of Hughes’ seasons at the club his side finished bottom of the fair-play league.
It was at Blackburn where Hughes demonstrated his ability to deal in the transfer market having brought in the now much sought after Chris Samba for only a few hundred thousand pounds, goal scoring sensation Benni McCarthy as well as David Bentley who was sold on by the club for over £16 million, having only cost £500,000.
The style of play adopted by Hughes was widely criticized by some, unsurprisingly Arsene Wenger was quick to lambaste the sides physical play. But it was a style of play necessary to further the ambitions of a side not blessed with huge technical talent. It is this trait of creating a formidable side, as he also did at Fulham, that should prove successful at QPR.
His time at City may be criticized by some but having been bought in by Thaksin Shinawatra the club was sold only months later leaving him managing for a chairman that did not want him. In essence his time at Eastlands was arguably doomed from the start. The job was difficult but finishing 10th despite the large sums of money spent was arguably not good enough.
What is often overlooked by pundits is the fact that some of City’s current stars were bedded in under Hughes and for that he does deserve some credit, Kompany, Barry, Zabaleta, De Jong and Lescott in particular, sensible signings in a time where the club were bidding for the likes of Kaka.
Prospects at QPR
Despite having slipped to 17th in the league QPR still do have potential and at times have pulled off impressive results this season including a 1-0 home win against rivals Chelsea. His immediate job however would be to lift QPR up the table and restore confidence in the players. With Hughes record at finding bargains such as the aforementioned Samba, Hughes has the ability to sign players capable of keeping the club safe in the Premier League.
As well as this the main problem for QPR has been their inability to protect the lead and keep clean sheets having conceded 35 so far this season. Hughes will have to try and install the sort of steal into this side that he did at Fulham and at Blackburn by making QPR hard to beat and making Loftus Road as difficult to go to as Ewood Park was under him.
With Hughes’ physical style of play having Joey Barton as his captain appears a match made in heaven, and despite the midfielders disciplinary problems Hughes has proven in the past that he is a fine man manager. His management of Bellamy at Blackburn was testament to this as he got the best out of a player who moved to Liverpool the following season as a result of this form. This man-management could also prove crucial in getting the best out of the talented, yet difficult, Adel Taarabt, a player who could be key to the future success of the club.
With the club only a point off the relegation zone and in the context of their terrible run of form, which leaves the club with no win in 9, Hughes will definitely have a job on his hands. If given the resources to attract players Hughes should be able to keep QPR up and if he is capable of doing this he definitely has the quality to build a side that can match Fernandes’, and QPR fans ambitions.