Posted on Nov 18, 2012 | 0 comments

At the end of yesterdays game it was interesting to see Nelson, Mackie, Derry and Taarabt go over to applaud the fans.  These were the  four players who were the only one's that could be seen to put in 100% for the cause of QPR's plight!  The others sountered off seemingly without a care in the world as long as they received their wages.

I have been a season ticket holder since 1973 and have witnessed many trials and tribulations over  the past 40 years but Saturdays game against Southampton has to be one of the worst performances I have ever seen.  It is over 11 years since the dark day of relegation to League 1 but at least those far less skilled players made some sort of effort to survive the drop.

This was such a critical game for both teams.  Southampton had not picked up a single away point before the clash but despite this  they were full off positivity as every one of their players put their heart and soul into it.  In contrast most of the QPR team were not up for it. Marking, off the ball positioning, lack of covering was the sort of thing you would see in a Sunday morning lower division game on Hackney Marshes. It was so shocking it was difficult to comprehend what I was actually watching. It is clear to every QPR supporter that if those poorly performing players could not raise their game in such an important clash then no fixture will do it!  It has been the same since the very first home game but fans have always been supportive of the team, understanding that it takes time for the team to gel.  However there has been no improvement. In fact the performances have got worse at a time where fixtures have put us against other relegation rivals.

Before I give my view on the manager and his negative tactics, lets look at my view of the players performance.

Cesar. When he first arrived at the club his performance was solid but I think that with such a poor defence in front of him his own game is being affected.  He certainly doesn't command his 6 yard area on crosses like he did earlier in the season. I read somewhere that he had the choice of joining either Arsenal or QPR and you have to wonder why he didn't chose Arsenal. Arsenal's wage structure is very tight so was it financial reasons?

Boswinga was not at the races. Out of position, never covered and just generally jogged around. Can't make a simple pass. This is not just yesterday but every game.  I know plenty of Chelsea friends who have never rated him but have never seen him playing as bad as he is at present. He gave the impression that he was totally disinterested and Hughes probably thought the same as he was substituted.

Traore is there to defend but that has never been his strong point. Ask any Arsenal fan. He prefers to push forward but like Boswinga he is slow to track back to the position he is played at and doesn't seem to go 100% into a tackle.

Ferdinand was one of our better defenders last year. He was solid and dependable. This season he is a shadow of that player.  Has the incident with Terry had more of an impact than is thought? Or does he lack support to the way Hughes runs the team?  He was outclassed yesterday and the way he lazily stuck out his foot for the own goal just gave the impression that he couldn't be bothered. We know he is a better player than that.

Nelson reminds me of Hill. Always gives 100% even if he sometimes gets it wrong. Yes there were some misplaced passes but you could tell he cared.  A justified  captain who lacked all support from the defenders around him. He was our only defender!

Gronero has given us glimpses of his quality and his work rate has always been good but yesterday he was very poor. He has played all his games controlling the centre of midfield but in this game Hughes put him on the right and it was clear to me that he didn't want to be there. Another player totally disinterested, almost sulking in a way that Taarabt often did last season.

Faurlin has always been one of my favourites. Always putting in 100% effort. He had a poor first half but I know he cares so I  am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had a serious cruciate injury last year and although he is now fit I believe it takes more time to recover mentally and having poor players around him does not help.  Faurlin would normally put himself harder into tackles but I am sure his injury is playing on his mind.

Diakete is another talented player that has gone totally off the boil in recent weeks. Yesterday he gave minimal effort as if it was some kind of friendly.

Hoilett like Boswinga seems to jog around aimlessly. When he does get the ball it's not long until he loses it and then rather than fight to get it back just jogs back slowly. He makes no defending effort and unless the ball is played exactly to him he does not look for it.  We know he is a class player but just does not want to do it for QPR. Or is he just disillusioned with Hughes!

Taarabt has been a revelation since he was dropped after his poor performance against Swansea on the opening day of the season. He gave 100% yesterday unlocking Southamptons defence time after time but lacked any support from most of the others. He was everywhere yesterday which is not something you would normally associate with him. Tarrabt clearly cared about the this game and was frustrated knowing that others didn't seem to.

Cisse is a player that I like. He did get lots of stick yesterday for putting less then 100% effort but I am not so sure this was warranted. He is an out and out striker that thrives on being given the chance to score but with our midfield non existent he was rarely going to be given the chance. When he does get an opportunity, even a half chance, he does his best. He did pick up the ball quite deep on a couple of occasions which just highlighted how poor the midfield was. Could he have put in more effort to help out? Yes but I would disagree that he was disinterested.

Mackie just typifies how we would like all our players to be. He is not the most skillful but he gives 150% every game. He would be in my team every game and has blue and white running through his veins.

Derry was only on in the final 15 minutes and is another player that always gives 150%. We need him in our team every week as he is the only one that will go in hard. That is exactly what the midfield was lacking yesterday and was the reason why Hughes brought him on in the first place.

Fabio the jury is still out and he had little time to make an impression.

So now on to Hughes and where do I start. Well, firstly I have to say I am very much pro Warnock and thought the removal of him was nothing short of scandalous. Here we were going nowhere for season after season, manager after manager before Warnock brought the team together, injected passion and brought us into the top flight only for him to fall to the Fernandes sword. A massive mistake which we are clearly paying for now. There was no loyalty then and now we are in a far worse situation and our chairman makes no moves.

But let's deal with the here and now!  Hughes and Southampton. A very important game yet just one striker. Not that we have many available in our squad but that sends out a negative signal to Southampton. Mackie should have played at the start. Then we have the farce of every player being told to defend corners. So when the ball is cleared it comes straight back and there is no opportunity for a quick break. It doesn't sound to me like a manager who wants to try to score a goal let alone win the game.  The funny thing was Southampton left three back on the half way line so there was no reason to clog up the penalty area with the entire blue and white hoops.

There was one moment with 20 minutes of the second half remaining which may be a good pointer that things are not right in the Hughes camp. Southampton had a corner and Mackie stayed up. Hughes is clearly telling him to defend and Mackie is replying. His back is to me but the impression is that he is disagreeing as Hughes tells him again to defend. Mackie throws his arms in the air and runs to the penalty area while still holding his arms in the air. I took that as Mackie making it as obvious as possible to the fans that he does not understand why Hughes does not leave him up.

Then a few minutes later just before 1-3 there is another corner and this time Mackie stands on the half way line and does not look over at Hughes. Perhaps defying an instruction. Cisse looks over to see if he can stay up too but Hughes seems to not respond so Cisse throws his hands in the air as if to say make a decision. This is my impression of what happened but even if I am wrong it is clear that there is tension between the players and the manager no matter what statements come out in the media that they are all behind him.

I also read in an interview given by  Mbia that Hughes did not know anything about him yet he was bought. I am not saying he is a bad signing as the jury is still out  but if this is indeed true, what the hell is our transfer policy!

It is no good Hughes saying at the end of the season what we will not be in the same position while he is in charge and then offer excuse after excuse this season. He keeps on saying that the team needs time to gel but if he was worried about that why did he purchase so many players.

The other thing that concerns me is his calm, quiet manner. He does not seem to show any passion so perhaps all of  that is rubbing off on the team.

It is clear that Hughes has to go. Stability is not an issue now as relegation and it's instability looms large while Hughes captains the ship. The problem is that Fernandes is in a no lose situation. Fernandes has completely trusted the Hughes way of doing things. To sack Hughes will not only cost a fortune in compensation payments but Hughes scientific football ideology is structured from youth to senior level. Through players, scouts, coaches and general management and to rip this process up in mid season with a new manager that wants to do things the old fashioned way will cause the biggest instability of all.  However by not sacking Hughes will surely mean certain relegation and with this loss in revenue together with a large wage structure it is difficult to know where QPR goes from there. If anywhere!  Even if Hughes is sacked we are still left with players that have mostly up to now not shown any interest so there are no guarantees things will change on the field.

If it were me I would bite the bullet and sack Hughes and his management team. Bring back players that may be not be as skilled but will fight for the team. I would play Nelson, Hill, Hogan, Derry, Mackie, Taarabt, Cisse. Bring back from loans  Connolly,  DJ Campbell, Balanta, get confidence back into Faurlin and tell Granero to get his act together. It will almost certainly signal relegation but at least I would have seen the team try it's best.

We all got what we wanted. A chairman with passion funding a large spending spree to dream what we have all dreamed for years but it's all gone so terribly wrong and the senior management team must act now to give us any chance of avoiding a complete meltdown of my beloved club.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.