Jumat, 30 November 2012

Stephane Mbia up for relegation battle at Queens Park Rangers

Stephane Mbia: Prepared to give his all in Premier League survival bid

Mbia moved to Loftus Road from Marseille over the summer, with the Cameroon international among a number of high-profile acquisitions made by Mark Hughes.

He, like many of his fellow recruits, has been unable to steer QPR away from trouble this season, with the club still looking for their first win of the campaign and now working under the guidance of Harry Redknapp following the decision to relieve Hughes of his managerial duties.

Mbia's first taste of life in the Premier League has been far from pleasant, but the midfielder insists he retains full faith in both his ability and that of the club to generate positive results.

"I am very happy to be here with QPR," he told the club's official website ahead of Saturday's home date with fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

"I believe we have a good team and I am looking forward to this weekend."

Mbia, who has been asked to fill a variety of positions in an effort to aid the collective cause added: "I feel I will get better and better. I have played centre back, right back and midfield. My best will come when I have stability in my position.

"Is midfield my preferred position? I don't mind. What's important is that I help the team. I want to work hard for everybody, and the team is more important than anything else.

"I want to do my very best for the team and for the coach, in training and in matches. I want to see us winning games. I don't like to lose. When I lose I am not happy. All the players are the same."

On the battle which lies ahead for all of those connected with QPR, with the club sweating on their top-flight status, Mbia added: "The Premier League is very difficult, but we want to win on Saturday for the fans.

"We haven't won all season and this annoys me. It hurts. But it is a challenge and I want to help my team. I want to give everything, I want to give all my heart to this challenge."

Lambert out to spoil Harry debut

Paul Lambert: Targeted win at QPR

A Villa win will lift them 11 points clear of bottom-placed Rangers, who replaced Mark Hughes with Redknapp a week ago.

Lambert believes the pressure will be on QPR and hopes Villa can build on collecting four points from their last two games at home to Arsenal and Reading.

Lambert said: "Harry going in there will automatically give them a big lift because he is a brilliant manager.

"Everyone knows what Harry can do from the clubs he has been at during his career.

"QPR have an abundance of really good players, the crowd will be buoyant and will get behind him. You wish him well - but after tomorrow.

"The pressure is on QPR to make the running but we are definitely a threat, that's for sure.

"We would be happy to win the game for ourselves and keep them down there.

"We are certainly playing well enough to go and win. We are only a few points off mid-table. It is so tight in the bottom half of the table."

Lambert has great faith in Villa's crop of youngsters, and they fielded their most inexperienced Premier League line-up against Reading in midweek with an average age of 23 years and 324 days.

Striker Christian Benteke has been grabbing plenty of headlines for his goalscoring feats including the late headed winner against the Royals.

But Lambert has also been pleased with the impact of former Crewe midfielder Ashley Westwood, another of his summer signings.

Lambert said: "We have a really young team, our youngest side in the Premier League since it started, which bodes well for the future.

"The young lads have been exceptional since Sunderland. I couldn't ask for any more from them. We had a tough run with the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal.

"Benteke has been unbelievable for us and Ashley Westwood has been absolutely terrific. People like Ashley are maybe not getting the credit they deserve.

"He is playing unbelievable football, he never gives it away and that's from a young lad who has just come from Crewe. He's slotted in so well and stayed in the side."

Villa left-back Enda Stevens has been ruled out of the trip to Loftus Road with the ankle injury suffered during the midweek win over Reading.

Eric Lichaj is set to replace the former Shamrock Rovers player but skipper and centre-back Ron Vlaar remains a major doubt with a calf problem.

Kamis, 29 November 2012

Jermain Defoe dismisses QPR link and wants to stay at Tottenham for rest of career

Jermain Defoe: Wants to end career with Tottenham

Speculation has emerged that the England striker is a top target for new QPR boss Harry Redknapp when the transfer window re-opens on New Year's Day.

But Defoe, Spurs' leading scorer this season with 10 goals in all competitions, claims he has no intention of linking up with Redknapp for the fourth time in his career.

"That's not going to happen. I'm not leaving Tottenham, I love the club and to score goals at a big club like this is fantastic," Defoe told Sky Sports News.

"If the opportunity comes to leave the club it won't be happening. I don't want to leave, I'm a Spurs player - and I'm happy. I'd like to finish my career at Tottenham. I want to achieve something special here - it's a great time to be at the club."

Spurs moved to fifth in the Premier League after Wednesday's 2-1 win over Liverpool, and Defoe is confident they can sustain their challenge for a Champions League place.

"I thought the performance against Live rpool was great. It was a massive win," he added. "Character is key and the lads who've come in have been fantastic. With the quality we've got it's important to go on a run and we're capable of doing that."

Defoe also offered his full backing to Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, who has struggled to win over the fans since succeeding Redknapp in the summer.

"It's difficult for any manager - when you come in you've got different ideas," said Defoe. "It wasn't the best at Chelsea but that happens. It's part of life and being a manager, but he's a fantastic manager and been fantastic for me.

"There's always a different approach each game and he's such a nice guy. All the lads want to fight and win for him. I'm just enjoying the journey and I'm sure he is as well."

Nelsen backs Harry's rescue bid

Harry Redknapp: Takes charge of his first game at Sunderland

Redknapp masterminded Tuesday night's goalless draw at Sunderland, going some way to stopping the rot that had cost Mark Hughes his job as manager.

The clean sheet was only Rangers' second of a league campaign that has seen them make the worst start of any team in the division's history.

Aston Villa's win over Reading on Tuesday also meant Redknapp's new side ended the evening eight points adrift of safety after 14 matches.

But veteran defender Nelsen was confident afterwards that if anyone could rescue the club from the drop, it was the man who performed similar feats at Tottenham and Portsmouth.

Both clubs went on to thrive in the Premier League, with Nelsen playing under Redknapp at Spurs last season en route to them finishing in fourth place.

The 35-year-old said: "I know Harry and that him and his staff will be doing their utmost to get us points.

"Obviously, he hasn't had much time. He is still getting to know every pla yer.

"He has to cast his own eye on everyone and that won't happen overnight. He is just trying to keep everyone positive.

"None of us has been in this position before.

"It's horrible, but Harry will bring in his own ideas, bring in some confidence.

"We just have to start producing on the field and get some points."

QPR are winless with more than a third of the season gone and Nelsen admitted they needed to win at least 10 of their remaining 24 games to stand any chance of survival.

They went close to getting the first of those victories last night, having arguably been the better team against fellow strugglers Sunderland.

"Of course, it is going to be very difficult but anyone watching us against Sunderland would not have known which side were at the bottom of the table," Nelsen said.

"We will have to get 10 more wins at least.

"We can't worry about other teams winning or losing.

"We just have to concentr ate on ourselves and just try to win as many games as we can.

"That's all we have to do, try to go on a run, try to secure wins and points and after 38 games we will just have to see where we are."

QPR finally sent out an SOS to Redknapp last week after agonising over sacking Hughes.

The Welshman was said to have made a real impact behind the scenes at Loftus Road as Rangers bid to become a Premier League club both on and off the field.

New Zealand captain Nelsen has particular reason to be grateful to Hughes, who brought him to English football from Major League Soccer almost eight years ago.

The pair spent three-and-a-half years together at Blackburn and were reunited this summer when Nelsen moved to Loftus Road after being released by Spurs.

"It was very sad to see Mark go because he has transformed QPR," Nelsen said.

"It may not look like it from the outside but, inside, it's a different club.

"It's a Premier League club now but, unfortunately, the results didn't go for him and I felt really bad for him.

"Harry has come in and his credentials speak for themselves.

"It is up to us now to bring in results for him, start producing on the field and getting some points."

Senin, 26 November 2012

Redknapp: My toughest test yet

Harry Redknapp: New QPR manager

The former Tottenham boss has taken over a side rooted to the foot of the table, with just four points from 13 games and without a win all season.

He has saved Portsmouth from relegation and took a Tottenham side from bottom of the table to the Champions League the following season.

Be he said: "We mustn't kid ourselves, this is much tougher that those two jobs in my opinion, but I'm optimistic we can pull it off.

"I want to be successful here, really badly. I want to keep this team in the Premier League. If the players try as hard as I am going to try we'll be successful."

Redknapp confirmed a deal was being done to bring in long-time assistants Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond to assist him.

And he warned the players he would not tolerate a lack of effort.

"We've got to do better to give ourselves any chance of getting out of this mess," he said.

"I need 11 people with ability to put effort in. If they don't they're not goi ng to play and I'll get 11 people who do. I've got no time for people who lose the ball and stand their with hands in the air."

On the team spirit, he added: "The lads I met yesterday were all upbeat.

"They've got to realise they are in this position because they haven't really performed to their capabilities and they've got to do better.

"The players have to take responsibility for performances, they've got to up their performance level and get us out of trouble."

Redknapp accepted there would be no "wholesale spending" in the transfer window after the club recruited extensively during the summer, but admitted they were very short up front.

Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson are both long-term injury victims and the new boss said: "We are not overloaded with strikers here. That's certainly an area we are short in."

On the possibility of bring in David Beckham, he said: "I got a lovely text from David the other night, just wishing me well here.

"To have him at any football club would be a great influence on the club, but we've not discussed anything."

Redknapp insisted there would be no personality clashes with Adel Taarabt, whom he sold while manager of Tottenham.

"He wasn't a player I wanted to sell," he said. "He couldn't get in the team at Tottenham.

"I always felt he had the ability to become a top player. I've got to get the best out of him."

Minggu, 25 November 2012

Tributes pour in for Sexton

Dave Sexton: Led Chelsea to FA Cup in 1970

Sexton took over the reins at Stamford Bridge from Tommy Docherty in 1967 and led Chelsea to a first FA Cup title in 1970 and a maiden European trophy the following season with victory over Real Madrid in the Cup Winners' Cup final.

Sexton went on to manage Manchester United, again succeeding Docherty, while he also took QPR to within a point of a first top-flight title before spending much of his later career with the Football Association.

But it is for his exploits with Chelsea that he will be best remembered, and Harris, who played nearly 800 games for the Blues in the 1960s and 70s, praised his formidable coaching skills.

The 68-year-old said: "It's a sad day, especially for the players that played under him. He used to spend hours on the training field. He was the best coach I ever worked with. I've got some great memories."

In contrast to Docherty, Sexton was a calm and methodical man who was renowned for a technical approach to coac hing that saw him appointed the FA's first technical director at Lilleshall in the 1980s.

Harris said: "Dave was a very honest man who would pat you on the back. He came across as a bright lad. You knew when he was upset, you could see it in his face.

"He came from a boxing family and I don't think anyone would have taken him on in the boxing ring."

As well as his successes at Chelsea, Sexton also led the England Under-21 side to back-to-back European titles in 1982 and 1984, while his playing career included spells with West Ham, Luton, Leyton Orient, Brighton and Crystal Palace.

The FA's director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, said: "It is a sad day for English football.

"Anyone who was ever coached by Dave would be able to tell you what a good man he was but, not only that, what a great coach in particular he was.

"In the last 30-40 years Dave's name was up there with any of the top coaches we have produced in Engla nd - the likes of Terry Venables, Don Howe and Ron Greenwood. His coaching was revered."

There was a minute's applause before today's Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, and the Blues paid their own tribute to Sexton, who was given an OBE for services to football in 2005.

"Chelsea Football Club would like to express our enormous sadness and send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dave Sexton, who has died aged 82," the statement read.

"Sexton is without doubt one of the greatest managers in Chelsea history having led the club to our first FA Cup in 1970 and the Cup Winners' Cup a year later - our first European trophy."

Peter Bonetti, the Chelsea goalkeeper during the Sexton era, told chelseafc.com: "He was fantastic, I've got nothing but praise for him.

"He passed away peacefully last night. I've spoken to his wife and it's come as a complete shock because he was such a lovely man.

"Everybody loved him and everybody respected him here at Chelsea and he will go down in the club's history as being such a fantastic guy who brought us so much success.

"He was a football fanatic. It's so sad and I really can't believe it. Everything he did was fantastic, the fact we won the FA Cup in 1970 was a big memory."

QPR also expressed their sadness at Sexton's death, saying in a statement: "The club is desperately saddened to learn of the passing of former QPR manager Dave Sexton.

"The 82-year-old was appointed at the Loftus Road helm in October 1974 and adopted an unforgettable side, featuring the likes of Stan Bowles and Gerry Francis.

"Sexton was just a point shy of guiding Rangers to the 1975/76 league title - a position that still remains the club's highest league finish.

"The club would like to extend its deepest condolences to Dave's family and friends at this sad time. May he rest in peace."

TT's Premier Picks: Pardew under pressure

Tottenham: Celebrate Defoe goal

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0

One week they score five, the next they look like it would take them a month to accumulate that tally. Arsenal were back to their Jekyll and Hyde best at Villa Park on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's men appear clueless when faced with the task of breaking down a stubborn side that is prepared to get men behind the ball and chase a point with their lives, rather than come at them and go all out for a win.

In fairness to Villa, they could have taken all three points against the Gunners, but Brett Holman saw a stinging late drive touched onto the crossbar by Wojciech Szczesny.

Villa probably did not deserve to win, but defeat for Arsenal may have offered them another kick up the backside - with past lessons failing to be heeded.

Olivier Giroud sits too deep to be a lone frontman, with it important for him to have pace and trickery in and around him if he is to pose problems.

Arsenal did have plenty of f lair on the field at Villa Park, but the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta endured afternoons to forget.

Wenger insists that he is not reading too much into increasingly common under-par performances from his side, but there is only so many dour goalless draws you can sit through before fingers start to be pointed - be that from the stands, which was the case on Saturday, or in the boardroom.

Chris Burton

Chelsea 0 Man City 0

New interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez was the subject of protests from fans at Stamford Bridge, where there was a negative atmosphere. The Spaniard must surely see this as unproductive and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to win over the club's followers.

Former Liverpool boss Benitez's appointment may be unpopular but he has already improved Chelsea's defending. The shielding work of Ramires and John Obi Mikel helped keep David Silva quiet as the European champions recorded a first clean sheet in 11 games.

Fernando Torres showed no signs of making an immediate improvement following the arrival of his former Liverpool boss, Benitez. The 50million striker's body language was again questionable and he hardly got a touch up against Vincent Kompany. It would be interesting to hear what Benitez thinks is wrong with Torres.

Pete Fraser

Everton 1 Norwich 1

No Plan B - that is the real feature that emerged from Everton's failure to beat Norwich. They started well, indeed almost dominated the opening 45-minutes at Goodison Park.

Their midfield was busy as they created a number of chances - but things were turned on their head in the second 45 as Norwich got to grips with the home side.

Steven Naismith and Stephen Pienaar buzzed around Nikica Jelavic - but he was soundly marked out of the game by Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett, and with no outlet Everton were found wanting - if Europe is their aim, a big improvement and revised tactic book will be needed.

Norwich can take a huge amount of positives from the game, although they must be wary that most sides would have put them to the sword after their disappointing opening half.

Graeme Bailey

Man United 3 QPR 1

QPR stand-in manager Mark Bowen made five changes to the side who lost to Southampton in Mark Hughes' final game in charge and it made a clear difference.

There was a more committed spirit and defensive organisation in the first half. Will Harry Redknapp stick with these changes?

Darren Fletcher's header to make it 2-1 to United was a special moment for the Scot, who scored his first goal in more than a year after his career threatening chronic bowel problem. He also looked at home in midfield and could now be a regular starter.

QPR conceded three goals in eight minutes and set-pieces remain their Achilles Heel but it is also worth noting their collapse ca me shortly after Armand Traore had to leave the field. He was sorely missed.

Pete Fraser

Southampton 2 Newcastle 0

Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle handed Alan Pardew an eight-year contract on the back of one successful season in the Premier League, and Mike Ashley may soon be looking for a loophole in that agreement.

The Magpies suffered a third straight defeat on Sunday, with Southampton proving to be far too strong in a one-sided encounter at St Mary's.

Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse look a shadow of the deadly strike force which struck fear into the heart of Premier League defences last season, while injuries to key men have left Pardew light on graft and guile.

Injuries can be offered as an excuse, with Newcastle's success last season built on their ability to name a settled side and offer rests at suitable junctures.

That is not the case this term and Pardew desperately needs to rediscover the winning formula if he is to avoid mounting pressure falling on his shoulders, with 14th place in the division not good enough for the Toon Army.

Southampton, meanwhile, are finally starting to turn performances into results and could be about to make an impressive surge up the top-flight standings.

It would be foolish to read too much into back-to-back victories over rock bottom Queens Park Rangers and out-of-sorts Newcastle, but the displays of Gaston Ramirez, Jason Puncheon and Adam Lallana suggest the Saints have found their feet and will be a force to be reckoned with over the busy festive period.

Chris Burton

Stoke 1 Fulham 0

After just one win and six draws from their opening ten league games, Tony Pulis' men have now stepped up a gear, claiming seven points from their last three matches.

Charlie Adam was again the hero, notching the decisive strike on 26 minutes - his second goal in three games for the Potters after his winner against QPR in the last home match.

The Scotland international proved a real livewire throughout and Pulis will be delighted he has also now found his scoring boots for his new side after his summer switch from Liverpool.

At the other end, skipper Ryan Shawcross put in a strong defensive display and showed the form which recently earned him his first cap for England.

Dimitar Berbatov was again the Cottagers' main man, and could have earned his side a point with a late strike only for Asmir Begovic to produce a good stop.

But the Cottagers were not allowed time to produce too many of their slick passing moves and gave the ball away too easily at the Britannia.

Fulham now have two London derbies coming up against Chelsea and Tottenham in the coming week and Jol will be demanding an increased effort to halt his side's slide down the league.

Steve Pass

Sunderland 2 West Brom 4

The West Brom bandwagon marches on and after an impressive 4-2 victory at Sunderland on Saturday the time has surely come for the critics to stop labelling their magnificent start to the season as little more than a "fluke".

The Baggies, under fledgling manager Steve Clarke, have now won eight and drawn two of their 13 league games to sit third in the table.

The Premier League this season is little better than average so there is every chance than an unfancied team could force their way into the top four as teams such as Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal struggle.

Their football is free-flowing at times, but they can also dig in when necessary - and it will be in the coming months.

Defensively they look solid, there is creativity in midfield and in Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie there are certainly goals.

It certainly has all the ingredients of success, so fluke? I don't think so.

Simon Crawford

Swansea 0 Liverpool 0

An intriguing contest be tween two sides who preach the same philosophy failed to deliver on its promise, as Swansea and Liverpool played out a goalless stalemate on Brendan Rodgers' return to the Liberty Stadium.

Rodgers will have been pleased to see his Reds side just about win the possession battle, but with the chances not quite falling for Luis Suarez on this occasion there was a lack of cutting edge.

Liverpool's performance drove home another reminder, if one were needed, that Suarez needs some support in attack, while the decision to play Jose Enrique in front of Stewart Downing did not work as neither player excelled.

Swansea carved out opportunities of their own and the way Pablo Hernandez and Michu played again demonstrated just how shrewd Michael Laudrup was in the transfer market with his raid on the Spanish market.

Hernandez, in particular, appears to be developing into a Premier League star, while Swansea appear increasingly difficult to beat and will be thi nking they can push on to cement a place in the top half.

Lewis Rutledge

Tottenham 3 West Ham

Jermain Defoe stole the show at White Hart Lane as Tottenham ran out comfortable winners against a distinctly average West Ham. The lone striker netted a brace to take his tally for the league season up to seven and his first was a real treat for the home fans, scoring from distance after an incredible run from the right side of midfield.

Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey were also extremely impressive as Tottenham showcased a free-flowing attacking performance. They linked up nicely for the second goal, and both hit the crossbar during the course of the ninety minutes.

It could have been different however if Lloris hadn't continued the form he showed against Lazio in midweek. West Ham breached the home side's defence more than they should have done and a team with more cutting edge in front of goal would have definitely scored more than just the one.

As for West Ham, Andy Carroll will receive a confidence boost after scoring with a good header late on. He won everything in the air and deserved his goal. However, the rest of the team offered little and Big Sam will be hoping for less of these type of performances if The Hammers are to build on their exceptionally strong start to the season.

Oliver Bell

Wigan 3 Reading 2

This could be a massive win for Wigan come the end of the season thanks to Jordi Gomez's injury-time goal.

Wigan came into the game on the back of two straight defeats, but they showed great resolve to come from behind at half-time to win 3-2.

The game was clear evidence of why both sides are struggling at the wrong end of the table as they showed they are too easy to score against.

It is great that Roberto Martinez and Brian McDermott are sticking to their principles to play open attacking football, but it leaves their respective sides too open to the opposition.

Scoring twice away from home Reading will feel they should have taken at least a point from the game, but Gomez's late goal ensured they were unable to build on their maiden win of the campaign against Everton last time out.

Roberto Martinez has masterminded two great escapes from relegation in the last two seasons, but on this evidence it looks like both these sides will be fighting to save themselves from the drop come May.

Pete O'Rourke

Redknapp: Taarabt can shine

Adel Taarabt: Harry Redknapp predicts huge future for the QPR man

Redknapp, who was confirmed as Mark Hughes' successor at the club on Friday, loaned and then sold Taarabt to QPR during his time in charge of Tottenham.

But the 65-year-old insists Taarabt can improve the fortunes of the club, who sit bottom of the table after picking up just four points from their first 12 games.

"Adel has a big future," Redknapp told the club's official website.

"He's an amazing talent with the ball. He can still do more without it, but there's no doubt he's a match-winner for us.

"He can turn things for us. He's the player who can do something special, so we'll be looking to get the best out of him.

"I never really wanted to sell him at Tottenham to be honest. I had a good relationship with him. I never had a problem with Adel.

"At times his problems were self-inflicted, but I let him go because he wasn't playing and the Chairman felt it was a good time to let him go.

"He was a player I was always w ary of letting go because I knew he could come back and haunt me one day."

Sabtu, 24 November 2012

Mark Bowen defends Mark Hughes after defeat at Old Trafford

Mark Bowen: Backed Mark Hughes' record as QPR boss

Hughes was sacked on Friday, and new boss Harry Redknapp watched the Old Trafford defeat from the stands, leaving Bowen to run the show for one match.

"People ask me what went wrong but when this club stayed up on the last day of last season, clubs like Southampton and Reading had a better squad than us," said Bowen.

"They had players who had been together and had success together. At times we have been criticised for the number of players who have left.

"Not one player we have let go is anywhere near the Premier League now. We have brought good players into the club. I have seen it every day in training. Maybe at times a few of the lads have been found wanting."

He added: "I have not spoken to Harry and he has not spoken to the players. It has been difficult.

"Football is an emotive game and Friday was a desperate day. Mark is my friend. I just said I would prepare the team to give everything it has got."

Bowen denie d reports Hughes had walked off the training ground on Friday, having been informed by chief executive Philip Beard he was going to be sacked no matter what the outcome of Saturday's game.

"We were preparing for training and putting our ideas together about what we were going to do when Philip knocked on the door," he said.

"No-one was called over. It was all handled with dignity."

Redknapp: Buck stops with players

QPR players: Underperformed under Hughes, according to Redknapp

The 65-year-old has been given a two-and-a-half-year contract at Loftus Road, just 24 hours on from Mark Hughes' sacking.

Redknapp inherits a squad without a Premier League win all season and one which is subsequently rooted to the bottom of the table and firmly entrenched in a relegation battle.

But the former Tottenham manager is not blaming Hughes for the problems and has told his new charges they need to look at themselves.

"The players have not performed to their potential," he told Sky Sports News.

"They had a good manager in Mark Hughes but for whatever reason it did not work out. We now have to produce in the last two thirds of the season to try and get out of trouble."

Redknapp has travelled to Old Trafford for Saturday's meeting with Manchester United but will not take the team until Tuesday's game at Sunderland.

"We need a better performance today," he added.

"The players have to be at it. The buck stops wit h them. I know Mark lost his job, but it's down to the players. He could only do what he could do. The players have not performed to their potential.

"There are some good players here and they really need to step up and start performing. They are man enough to know they're to blame for the position we are in."

A positive result appears unlikely today but regardless of whether QPR win or not, Redknapp is taking over a side in firm danger of returning to the Championship.

"We can't get any lower," he said. "We are rock bottom. We have to try and get up that table. I remember when I was at Portsmouth and we stayed up with a game to go at Wigan - it was the most fantastic feeling."

All eyes will now be on the January transfer market to see who, if anyone, Redknapp opts to bring in to a club which had a high turnover of players under Hughes in the summer.

Michael Dawson, Redknapp's former captain at Tottenham, has been mentioned, but Redknapp wo uld only say: "I have not discussed the money (for players) situation.

"I didn't say I wanted money to spend. There are some good players here and we need to get them performing so come January we might not need too much."

One player who will not be wearing a hooped shirt this season, though, is midfielder Joey Barton who is on loan to French club Marseille after a falling out with Hughes.

"Joey is out on loan for the season so he can't come back anyway," Redknapp said.

Jumat, 23 November 2012

Regional Paper Talk: Jol's Hangeland hope

Brede Hangeland: Fulham future is unclear


Harry Redknapp is the new Queens Park Rangers manager after the club finally decided to sack Mark Hughes.

Emmanuel Adebayor fears Tottenham's season will implode if they cannot correct the alarming dip in form.

Carlo Cudicini believes Italian football must follow the example set by the English game if the hooligan element in his home country is to be eradicated.


Martin Jol hopes Brede Hangeland will make a decision about his Fulham future by the end of the year.

Rafa Benitez will not rock the boat by taking the Chelsea captaincy away from John Terry.


Michael Carrick admits not even Manchester United can carry on being the comeback kings.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has warned revamped Chelsea: "You won't take our title!"


Steven Naismith insists recent criticism of Seamus Coleman is grossly unfair - and believes the Ireland international will prove himself a top Premier League defender this season.


Danny Simpson has thanked the Toon Army for sticking by him during some testing times after the Newcastle United star's personal life was thrust into the public eye.

Martin O'Neill has warned Sunderland cannot take anything for granted just because four of their next five games are on home soil.

Lee Cattermole insists Sunderland will not be caught out by the Premier League's surprise-package West Brom this weekend.


West Brom boss Steve Clarke admits he will be surprised if Chelsea recall Romelu Lukaku during the January transfer window.

West Brom keeper Ben Foster could be out until early-to-mid-December after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation from a groin problem.

A statement by Peter Pannu has revealed that there is a three-way fight for ownership of Birmingham City.

Barry Bannan has described manager Paul Lambert as the most focused person he has ever met as Aston Villa plot a way out of Premier League trouble.

Captain Ron Vlaar reckons the Villa Park faithful have a vital role to play when the claret and blues launch their drop-zone escape mission against Arsenal on Saturday.


Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hopes Saints fans will welcome referee Mark Clattenburg back into the fold when he takes charge of their home game against Norwich next Wednesday.


Stokies are being urged to cheer one of their own when Ryan Shotton makes his first Premier League start since last April against Fulham on Saturday.

Tony Pulis says Michael Owen has no case to answer after his late-night television appearance ahead of the home clash with Fulham.


Roberto Martinez admits Reading will pose a "completely different challenge" when they visit Wigan on Saturday.


Norwich City boss Chris Hughton admits interest in Wes Hoolahan and John Ruddy is inevitable.


Reading boss Brian McDermott says he appreciates the public backing shown by owner Anton Zingarevich.


Joe Allen returns to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday to face a Swansea City side which he believes could be better than the one he left to join Liverpool.


Dougie Freedman accepts his Crystal Palace connections will guarantee a hot reception at Brighton on Saturday, but he is happy to take it on the chin as long as Wanderers remain unbeaten.


Keith Treacy could still play his part in Burnley's season says manager Sean

Dyche, providing the winger manages to stay on the right track.


Mamady Sidibe's move to Hillsborough represents a big opportunity for a big man who is hoping to regain former heights.


Chairman Steve Gibson will reject any offers that come in for his star players in January, insists Tony Mowbray.


Tony Mowbray has admitted he would like Stewart Downing to strengthen Middlesbrough's promotion push in the new year, but fears strong competition if Liverpool do make the winger available.


Transfer-listed Wolves defender Christophe Berra has shelved contract talks until the new year as he looks to make the most of his red-card reprieve against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.


Neil Warnock has written to the Football Association in a bid to stave off a charge of improper conduct and sidestep a touchline ban.


Kilmarnock gaffer Kenny Shiels believes half-price football tickets underwritten by government subsidies is the best way forward for the game in Scotland.

Hearts boss John McGlynn has warned that the club are not out of the woods yet -despite the 600,000 fund-raising efforts of the supporters.

SAF: New players caused problems

Sir Alex Ferguson: Felt QPR signed too many new players

Mark Hughes finally paid the price on Friday morning for a run of results that leaves the Londoners adrift at the foot of the Premier League when he was axed as manager.

The only surprise was that it came just 24 hours before QPR's visit to Manchester United, when the deed could have been done much earlier.

Speaking barely 90 minutes before the announcement was made, Ferguson claimed that one of the problems was expecting too much from a squad that had been put together during the summer thanks to the addition of 11 new players, including former United midfielder Park Ji-sung and defender Fabio on loan.

"If you analyse things a little bit more closely it's probably a lesson to everyone that changing a team and bringing 11 new players in to the Premier League is not easy," said Ferguson. "But I am surprised they've only got four points.

"I didn't expect them to immediately set a blazing trail or be up at the top of the league or anything li ke that with 11 new players to bed in, but they've only four points and of course that creates its own headlines."

Ferguson will not let the sideshow distract his side from the task in hand as they attempt to avoid a hat-trick of defeats for the first time since 2001.

Ferguson's squad will be strengthened by the return of virtually all the senior players who missed the midweek Champions League trip to Galatasaray, including Wayne Rooney - who has recovered from tonsillitis - and Chris Smalling, who had a slight shoulder problem.

With Phil Jones making his comeback from knee surgery, Ferguson has a genuine selection decision to make in defence for the first time this season.

Victory would allow United to reclaim top spot 24 hours before Chelsea host Manchester City.

"Winning games is going to be important and I want us to make sure we get some consistency and momentum going in the run up to new year," Ferguson said.

"We have had some difficult fixtures and when you analyse the defeat last weekend, I've never seen a team run as hard as Norwich did in my life.

"Full credit to them; they deserved their result when you work as hard as that."

QPR plight surprises Carrick

Michael Carrick: Admits QPR's struggles are surprising

West Ham were supposed to be too good to go down in 2002.

With the likes of Carrick, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe, the Hammers boasted some of the country's best young players.

Even after a poor start, it seemed inconceivable they would eventually lose their Premier League lives.

But it happened, with a record points tally of 42.

So Carrick is acutely aware of the problems that lie ahead for Saturday's visitors to Manchester United, QPR, who are already cut adrift at the bottom and whose manager, Mark Hughes, is on the brink of being sacked.

"It is a surprise but this is a hard league and sometimes when you buy players but a couple of results don't go for you early in the season, it becomes harder to win," said Carrick.

"I've been there myself with West Ham. I know how difficult it can be.

"We had a good squad of players but for whatever reason, it just didn't work for us that season.

"Hopefully Mark Hughes can tu rn it round, although not starting on Saturday."

Kamis, 22 November 2012

Akos Buzsaky has signed on loan with Barnsley from Portsmouth

Akos Buzsaky: Sealed a loan switch to Oakwell

The Hungary international has switched to the Championship outfit from League One side Portsmouth, as revealed by Sky Sports earlier today.

The 30-year-old Hungary international is the third player to join the Tykes this week following the arrivals of Jonathan Greening and Emile Sinclair on loan from Nottingham Forest and Peterborough, respectively.

Greening's Forest team-mate Marcus Tudgay arrived on loan in time to make his Barnsley debut in last weekend's draw at Bolton.

Buzsaky, who has 20 caps for Hungary, began his career with MTK Hungaria and arrived in England from Porto when he joined Plymouth in 2005.

He signed for QPR for 500,000 in January 2008 following an initial loan spell at Loftus Road and moved on to Portsmouth in October, where he has become a regular since his switch.

Relishing the challenge ahead, he said: "I'm optimistic, I'm ready to fight. I could get into good form at Portsmouth during one and a half months, I could play seven games.

"I got this chance and by this move, I'm one step close to the (Premier League) stage I want to get back to.

"I'll be here on loan until the end of December and Barnsley will have eight games during this period so I'll have time to prove that I can produce well on this stage."

Nelsen demands player response

Ryan Nelsen: Calling for improvement

Things have not gone to plan for the west Londoners this season, with a summer of hope abruptly ended by a winless start to the season.

QPR have started the campaign without victory in any of their 12 Premier League matches and they prop up the table with just four points.

Such poor form has seen manager Hughes' position come under increasing scrutiny and Nelsen knows his players have to react, starting this weekend at Manchester United.

"When the pressure is on, players have to take responsibility," he told the club's official website.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing, the Premier League is just unforgiving. You've got to earn your right to play and win.

"You've got to be strong mentally and have the confidence to do something in the game at both ends of the park."

That mental strength was far from evident last weekend as QPR fell to an embarrassing 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton.

The players' p erceived lack of effort against Saints saw the Loftus Road faithful turn on their players, chanting 'you're only here for the money' and 'Ryan Nelsen, he plays on his own'.

"I thought we were poor in both boxes to be honest," Nelsen said of the performance.

"We were all extremely disappointed. You get punished no matter who you're playing in this league.

"The players have to hold complete responsibility for last weekend. When it mattered most, we just didn't stand up.

"You've got to defend and attack the ball and we just didn't get on the end of anything.

"Every game from now until the end of the season is a 'stand up and be counted' game.

"Every player's got to hold their hands up and do everything they can for this club to get out of where we are."

Francis: Time is of the essence

Mark Hughes: Under increasing pressure

Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton left Rangers without a win in their first 12 starts and had been widely expected to result in Hughes' departure.

And while Francis, who was player-manager of the club from 1988 to 1990, hailed owner Tony Fernandes for his patience, he insisted Hughes would know more than most how imperative it is to start picking up points.

Francis said: "Mark has been around for a long time as a player and a manager and he knows what the situation is - he has got to start winning quickly or face the consequences.

"The chairman has spent very heavily and obviously he would want a better return - that's only natural.

"The chairman has been very supportive of the manager and no manager could ask for anything more than what the chairman of QPR has done there. He has been very, very supportive."

Francis, who is now fully recovered from the heart attack he suffered in April, was speaking in Shef field at the handover of a new football kit to a junior side on behalf of Pentagon of Sheffield and Vauxhall.

He acknowledged the stark comparison between the patience of Fernandes at Rangers and the sudden decision by Chelsea to dispense with Roberto Di Matteo's services following their Champions League defeat at Juventus.

Francis added: "I don't think anybody really anticipated what happened this morning with Chelsea but when you win the Champions League it raises the bar.

"When you think what Roman Abramovich spent in the summer, as reigning European champions you would expect to be challenging for the Champions League from the first minute to the last.

"I think the Champions League is going to be a very difficult ask for them now, but once they get the likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry back, I am sure they can still challenge for the Premier League."

Senin, 19 November 2012

"Business as usual" at QPR after new speculation over Mark Hughes' future

Mark Hughes: Remains as QPR manager after another day of rumours

Hughes attended a two-hour meeting with the club's chief executive Philip Beard on Monday and did not take charge of training.

That led to internet rumours that Hughes was about to be axed from his position and Sky Bet also suspended betting on Hughes being the next Premier League boss to get the chop.

Beard made no comment as he left Rangers' west London training ground on Monday afternoon.

But the club later told Sky Sports News it was "business as usual", while a source close to Hughes said that meetings on Monday are normal and that he is preparing as normal for Saturday's game against Manchester United.

QPR's head of media Ian Taylor also tweeted: "Rumours suggesting Mark Hughes has been sacked as QPR manager tonight are NOT true."

Pressure continues to mount on Hughes after Saturday's defeat to fellow Premier League strugglers Southampton left QPR rock-bottom of the table.

The Hoops are yet to win a game this season and have claimed just four points from their 12 matches so far.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has, however, publicly backed Hughes on several occasions in recent weeks.

Fernandes, who is thought to have been in the United States on business, tweeted earlier on Monday: "On my way home from America. Long long flight to think of many things. Just stopped of at Osaka. Now back home to Kuala Lumpur."

Robbo's delight at Balanta stay

Angelo Balanta: Staying on

Balanta, 22, who joined the League One club on loan for a third time last month, was set to see his latest stint in Milton Keynes come to an end after the Dons' game at Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.

However, manager Karl Robinson will now have the Colombian available for some crucial matches against the likes of Colchester, Brentford, Hartlepool, Doncaster, Walsall, Coventry and Notts County.

"We are grateful to QPR for letting us have Angelo until the beginning of January," said Robinson.

"He has been in terrific form since signing last month and has provided us with something different out wide with his natural pace and skill.

"Now he has a run of games under his belt, I'm sure we'll see the best of him in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that he will be crucial to us picking up points throughout the busy Christmas schedule."

Minggu, 18 November 2012

Queens Park Rangers legend Ivor Powell has died at the age of 96

Ivor Powell: QPR legend has died at the age of 96

Powell was one of the finest players of his generation, playing eight times for Wales and representing Blackpool and Aston Villa as well as the Loftus Road side.

He made 159 appearances for Rangers in a 12-year spell that was interrupted by the Second World War and was part of the team that clinched the Division Three South title in 1948.

The wing-half left QPR just before Christmas that year, Villa spending 17,500 to sign the tough-tackler who played for them for three seasons before leaving to take on a player-manager role at Port Vale - he also managed Bradford City and Carlisle before settling in Bath.

Powell was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 2007 and worked as a coach at the University of Bath for 37 years until retiring at the age of 93 in 2010 when he was known as the world's oldest football coach.

A statue of Powell stands at the Sports Training Village in Bath, and the university also set up the Ivor Powell Sports Schola rship Fund to support undergraduates who are gifted both academically and in their chosen sport.

QPR assistant manager Mark Bowen wants players to 'get angry'

Mark Bowen: Confident QPR can turn things around under Mark Hughes

An internal inquest was held in the wake of Sunday's 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Reading as Bowen and boss Mark Hughes urged the players to take on greater responsibility.

QPR are currently languishing in the relegation zone after failing to win any of their first 10 Premier League matches and Bowen hopes the frank exchange of views will make a difference.

Speaking to QPR podcast Open All Rs, said: "In the last two days we had meetings, sat down and let individuals know in no uncertain terms it's unacceptable.

"They held their hands up and took it on board and we will work at it to make sure we are better next time.

"We encouraged them to point a few fingers and put demands on them. I want them to be a bit more angry and demanding of each other."

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has repeatedly given Hughes his backing this season but reports continue to suggest he could be sacked if results do not improve, with Harry Redknapp ti pped as a possible successor.

But Bowen does not believe it would be a good move to replace Hughes with Redknapp, saying: "People talk about Harry Redknapp and this and that. The fact is he took over Southampton in 2005 as the big saviour and he took them down.

"But when things go wrong people say get Harry in."

Bowen added: "We are really surprised and gutted the way it has gone. We expected and wanted better.

"The common denominator is that it has usually taken a few months to get our methods across and way we play.

"But like Tony said, I feel we are the best people for job. The facts, CV and history to prove it. We know our history over the last 10 to 12 years that this will change and we will be successful."

QPR stay bottom of the Premier League after a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton

Rickie Lambert: Heads in Southampton's opening goal

With managers in both dug-outs under severe pressure, first-half goals from Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon gave the Saints a deserved 2-0 lead at the break, before Junior Hoilett headed QPR back into the game early in the second period.

Southampton, though, kept pushing forward and secured the points seven minutes from time, when Adam Lallana's low cross was poked into his own net by Anton Ferdinand.

With the victory, Nigel Adkins' side have established a four-point gap between themselves and their beaten hosts.

Both he and Hughes stuck with the same starting line-ups that played last weekend, with Southampton the quickest to settle. Captain Lallana came close in the seventh minute, firing just over after a neat one-two with Gaston Ramirez, but their defensive frailties remained.

Adel Taarabt - so often a threat for QPR - drove in-between Nathaniel Clyne and Jose Fonte, before forcing a reaction save out of Paulo Gazzaniga, who then shovelled a Hoilett shot around the post less than a minute later.

Saints returned to the attack and got the game's crucial opener in the 23rd minute, when a corner was not cleared properly by the home defence. Ramirez pulled back for Fonte, whose shot was prodded goalwards by Puncheon. That effort was cleared off the line but Lambert showed his strength to bundle home.

Southampton pushed for another, which came on the stroke of half-time, when Puncheon collected the ball from Clyne, turned Alejandro Faurlin, and fired home a left-footed strike.

QPR were booed off at half-time after their inept display and Hughes replaced Faurlin with Jamie Mackie at the start of the second period, which was only four minutes old when Taarabt's floated cross was nodded home by the unmarked Hoilett.

Saints quickly retained their momentum, though, and Puncheon forced Julio Cesar into a smart save before firing wide twice within a minute.

The game was flo wing from end to end and Cesar had to be at his best to deny a Maya Yoshida scissor-kick 10 minutes from time.

Nelsen headed straight at Gazzaniga moments later and then Saints secured victory, with Puncheon playing a short corner to Schneiderlin for the Frenchman's cross to squeeze in off Ferdinand at Cesar's near post.

QPR fans bellowed 'You're only here for the money' at their players and duly booed the side off at the end of the game, while Adkins and the Saints fans celebrated their first points earned away from home.

Queens Park RangersTeam StatisticsSouthampton
01st Half Goals2
5Shots on Target10
6Shots off Target5
1Blocked Shots5
1Yellow Cards0
0Red Cards0
76.8Passing Success77.3
68.8Tackles Success75
35.4Territorial Advantage64.6
405Total Passes467
26Total Crosses27
185Lost Balls196
52.81st Half Poss.47.2
392nd Half Poss.61

QPR boss Mark Hughes under pressure after defeat by Southampton

In a battle between the division's two bottom sides, the visitors came out on top at Loftus Road in a 3-1 win which leaves their hosts with just four points from 12 games.

The fixture was reported as a sack-race between Hughes and Southampton counterpart Nigel Adkins and the pressure is now largely on the former's shoulders.

Asked if he has any concerns about his position as manager, Hughes dodged the direct issue by telling Sky Sports: "When you perform like today in a key match, then you are disappointed.

"You are disappointed as manager of the team and disappointed for the players, because they are much better than they showed today.

"But we pick ourselves up and we have to go again, because we owe the fans."

Goals from Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and an Anton Ferdinand own goal did the damage to QPR, with Junior Hoilett having only provided some hope at 2-1.

And questioned if his team deserved anything from Saturd ay's game, Hughes said: "No, absolutely not. The performance today was nowhere near the level we expected.

"It was a key game and unfortunately we did not perform. I include myself in that, because, at the end of the day, I pick the team."

Sabtu, 17 November 2012

QPR owner Tony Fernandes fails to give Mark Hughes customary message of support

Tony Fernandes: 'Gutted' by defeat to Southampton

The club's owner approved a huge summer outlay in the transfer market and has consistently supported his manager in public despite the side's failure to win a league game this season.

But a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton, who had not previously won a point on the road, prompted a change of tone from Fernandes.

He tweeted: "I feel gutted. I have put my heart and soul into this with my other shareholders and done all we can to give support to players and all management. I can only apologise to the QPR fans. We keep fighting.

"Let me tell you Fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves. QPR has amazing fans. They deserve better."

Hughes did not try to disguise the shortcomings in his side's performance against Southampton, calling it the worst of his 10-month reign.

But the Welshman insisted he would not be resigning, saying: "I don't run away from challenges. This is a huge chall enge. It was a huge challenge in January when I undertook it.

"There weren't too many people queuing up when I decided it was the right role for me. I knew it was going to be problematic. We all understood that.

"This year we obviously had real expectations and I was quite prepared to raise expectations because I thought we would have a good season. It hasn't quite happened, unfortunately, and because we have raised expectations more people are disappointed."

Hughes still targeting top half

Hughes: Keeping the faith

Rock-bottom QPR will try to secure their first Premier League win of the campaign at the 12th attempt when they welcome fellow strugglers Southampton to Loftus Road.

Both bosses head into the game under pressure - particularly Hughes after QPR chairman Tony Fernandes' claim on Twitter last week that his team "must win" the six-pointer against the south-coast club, who are one point above Rangers.

But Hughes vehemently denied that he is not good enough to turn around the club's season.

The ever-positive Welshman, who has been in charge of QPR for 10 months, even believes he is capable of closing that 10-point gap that separates his team and the safe haven of mid-table.

"Our hope was to finish in the top half and I still think that is a possibility," Hughes said.

"Obviously we need to start winning quickly and that is our intention at the weekend, but we feel we have the capacity, and we feel teams above us will have periods when they will struggle, like we have at the beginning.

"We feel now with injuries clearing that we are through our period and we hope to prove that at the weekend and kick on."

Whether Hughes gets enough time to see the season out is another matter.

Fernandes has often voiced his support for his manager in recent weeks, but he seemed to offer an ultimatum to Hughes - although the Welshman denies that was the case - last weekend when he said the Southampton game was a "must-win" encounter.

Hughes, who was sacked by Manchester City three years ago, does not know if he will suffer the same fate if his team do not beat Saints.

"That is not my decision," he said. "We are frustrated, as are the fans and owners but people should take comfort from the fact that everything is in focus.

"Everyone understands we are doing everything possible to turn it around, and we will do, because we do the right things on a daily basis."

In addtion to his pr ess conference, Hughes used a column in the Daily Mail to promise he has what it takes to get QPR out of trouble.

Hughes said his players are angry at how their season is playing out, and that is something he will channel into a positive performance.

"The players are angry," he said. "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."

Southampton, with one win to their name, are only one point above QPR in the table, and today's match looks like crunch time for both.

Hughes is backing his side to come out on top.

"The belief is there. The character is there. The determination is there. We know we're better than the league table tells us," he said.

"We just have to start proving it."

Jumat, 16 November 2012

QPR v Southampton preview

Ryan Nelsen: Set to feature for Queens Park Rangers

Stephane M'Bia remains suspended, but Nelsen should be able to feature despite an ankle injury forcing him out of the New Zealand squad.

Manchester United loanee Fabio is still out with his hamstring injury, whilst former Old Trafford colleague Park Ji-sung continues to struggle with a knee problem.

Jamie Mackie (ankle) and Kieron Dyer (calf) are doubtful for the game, but could be involved. Andy Johnson remains sidelined as he is expected to miss most of the season due to a knee injury.

Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow will be missing for Southampton's trip to face their fellow strugglers.

Right-back Richardson had been expected to feature for the development squad on Monday but missed out after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury.

Richard Chaplow is also out through injury, but Guly do Prado could be involved after being left out of the squad for last weekend's 1-1 draw with Swansea.

QPR boss Mark Hughes says future won't be decided by result against Southampton

Rangers, who have yet to record a Premier League win this season, are propping up the table, a point behind Saturday's visitors.

There are suggestions Hughes could depart if his side fail do not beat Saints - with owner Tony Fernandes reportedly labelling it a 'must-win' game.

Bu the Welshman said: "It doesn't hinge on this match at all.

"People shouldn't under-estimate the changes that have gone on at the club and I have been a big part of that.

"I have had great support from everyone. That doesn't just get swept aside

because we are in a difficult situation."

Hughes claimed Fernandes' comments were taken out of context, but admitted: "I can understand that, because we haven't won enough games - we haven't won any games - and we need to change that quickly.

"My expectation is that we will get the three points tomorrow and we will start the long road back."

On morale within the camp, the Welshman added: "People fro m the outside maybe have the perception that it's all doom and gloom and everyone's walking around with glum faces.

"But that isn't the case because we know we're very close to turning this around. But we can't keep saying it, we have to do it."

Kamis, 15 November 2012

Charlie Adam scored a second-half winner for Stoke to heap pressure on QPR

Adam celebrates 52nd-minute winner

The R's had not won away in the Premier League since beating City 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium last season and remained winless this term in 11 games after Adam's 52nd-minute strike.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium until Robert Huth launched a long free-kick for Jonathan Walters to head on to Peter Crouch after the break.

Crouch failed to get a meaningful touch on the ball but glanced it for Adam to half-volley home the only goal of a tense encounter at the back post.

Winger Matthew Etherington had been named in the Potters' starting line-up for the first time since the opening day of the campaign - and Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan joined him in returning in front of the biggest home attendance of the season at 27,529.

England defender Ryan Shawcross was soon on hand to cut out Esteban Granero's cross for Djibril Cisse early on while the recalled Rangers midfielder Alejandro Faurlin also tried his luck from distance.

Stoke's Walters then blasted into the crowd after finding himself unmarked while Julio Cesar punched clear an Etherington free-kick under severe pressure.

Midfielder Steven Nzonzi picked out Crouch in the middle but the England forward's effort was deflected just wide of the target while Cisse and Junior Hoilett combined at the other end to set up Adel Taraabt.

The Morocco forward badly fluffed his chipped attempt but went closer a minute later and just before the interval when his side-footed effort was just wide of Asmir Begovic's far-post.

Scotland midfielder Adam gleefully put the hosts ahead seven minutes after the restart, from an aerial Stoke set-piece, but Taarabt almost levelled the match immediately with a deflected right-footed effort forcing Begovic to turn the ball over the bar.

The Moroccan twice dragged the ball across goal from useful positions but he did better in the 70th minute to set up Granero, whose strike brought a f ine save out of Bosnian Begovic.

Substitute Michael Kightly could have sealed a certain three points near the end but the winger's strike was well saved by Cesar after fellow sub Kenwyne Jones had beaten the offside trap to pull a neat ball back to him.

The heat is now truly on QPR manager Hughes, while his opposite number Tony Pulis will be relieved to see his side - up to 12th - register what was only their second win of the campaign.

Stoke CityTeam StatisticsQueens Park Rangers
01st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target2
5Shots off Target9
5Blocked Shots7
2Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
70.3Passing Success82.6
68.4Tackles Success81.8
57. 3Territorial Advantage42.7
340Total Passes425
23Total Crosses17
167Lost Balls152
44.61st Half Poss.55.4
44.32nd Half Poss.55.7

Adkins not expecting the sack

Nigel Adkins: Still expects to be boss of Southampton next week

Saints are just one point ahead of bottom-of-the-table Rangers who have not won any of their 11 Premier League matches this season.

Mark Hughes has been in charge at Loftus Road since January and the two teams meet in west London this weekend.

But Adkins is playing down any suggestions that perhaps one of the two managers could be shown the door in the near future.

He said: "I don't think it will have any relevance whatsoever for either manager.

"We've got two managers and two football clubs at the wrong end of the table but I am pretty confident that both managers will be in situ come Monday.

"I am looking forward to another game. It has been a good week's training. I feel fit, I feel fresh and I've got an energy about myself.

"Every game that you look at has three points up for grabs.

"We're at the wrong end of the league table. We can't hide away from that and so the importance of the next game is always going to be highlighted.

"But it is going to be like that for us for the remainder of the campaign.

"It's a tough league that we're in, we're well aware of that, but one we love being in and one we expect to be in for many, many years to come."

Queens Park Rangers' Joey Barton describes Marseille move as a great decision

Joey Barton: The midfielder has hopes of winning the Ligue 1 title

The midfielder is on loan in France from Queens Park Rangers, who have indicated they may be prepared to sell their former captain after he was issued with a 12-match domestic ban.

Barton has himself admitted he would stay with Marseille if possible and he is certainly enjoying life with the Ligue 1 club.

"Coming to Marseille is one of the best decisions I've taken," he said. "I'm very happy to be here."

Marseille sit level on points with big-spending and star-studded Paris Saint Germain at the top of Ligue 1 with a game in hand and Barton thinks the title is not out of the question this season.

He said: "PSG have a great team with good players. With their financial strength who can say they won't spend another billion pounds in January?

"They have the means to do that. At Marseille we've got to take each game as it comes. We don't have a large squad.

"If we finish in front of PSG then that would be great. I came here to have a great season. Any team finishing in front of PSG will have had a good season."

Rabu, 14 November 2012

QPR star Esteban Granero calls on the side to end their 11-match Premier League losing streak against Southampton

Esteban Granero: Ready for 'massive' clash at home to Southampton

The west Londoners are currently sitting bottom of the Premier League table and without a victory in their opening 11 matches.

Mark Hughes' men hope to bring that run to an end when they welcome 19th-placed Saints to Loftus Road and Granero is aware of how important three pints would be.

"We know this is going to be massive for us," he told the club's official website.

"We play at home against one of our rivals. We know the supporters are with us and they deserve more than we are giving to them.

"All we can do is continue training hard and give everything on the pitch on Saturday."

Granero has also been quick to dismiss talk suggesting he could leave the club as soon as January.

"I believe the first win will change everything," he added. "We are doing the correct things and that is why I think it's going to be better for us very soon.

"The beginning has been a little bit tough but I am sure it is going t o get better soon.

"Am I happy here? Yes, more than ever. I came here for a challenge and this is what I have."

The former Real Madrid star added: "I wanted to face a big challenge with this club.

"It is a club with a lot of ambition and it wants to grow. I want to grow with it. Together we can move forward at the same time.

"I know the future is going to be good. Of course words mean nothing in football but I will say that we are training very hard for Saturday's game and we are ready."

Manchester United's Rafael says twin brother Fabio's loan move to QPR is benefiting both of them

Rafael: Misses his borther Fabio, but thinks he is growing more mature as a resu

The young full-backs moved to Old Trafford from Fluminense in January 2008 when they were just 17-years-old.

They have both gone on to force their way into Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team squad, though the Scot elected to send Fabio on-loan to QPR at the start of this season.

The move not only allowed the pair, now 22, to play more first-team football but also become more independent and mature.

Rafael concedes that he misses his brother, currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, but accepts that the deal is good for both their development.

"It's not strange but it's different," he told the club's official website. "We're close and I was always together with him but it's been good for us, just to become more mature.

"I used to ask him all the time if I needed something but now I need more of my own mind so I've grown more mature. It's bad because I miss him but it's good to learn more.

"He is always calling me back to say s omething is not good [about my game].

"It's always been like this. He is back in training now and maybe, when he plays again, we'll keep doing this."

QPR midfielder Joey Barton keen to stay at Marseille

Joey Barton: Happy at Marseille after making loan move from Queens Park Rangers

Barton joined the French club on a season-long loan deal from Queens Park Rangers in the summer after being banned for 12 matches by the Football Association following his red card and subsequent violent conduct in the game against Manchester City on the final day of last term.

His suspension was transferred to French football so Barton has had a long wait for his Ligue 1 debut, but he has played for Marseille in the Europa League.

The 30-year-old is enjoying his time at the club and has indicated that he would like to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

"I still have a lot of respect for my team-mates," he said.

"I do not play for money, but for my club. If I were the one to decide, I would stay at Marseille."

Barton remains under contract at Loftus Road until 2015, but QPR chief executive Philip Beard has revealed the club may consider selling him to Marseille.

Selasa, 13 November 2012

QPR midfielder Esteban Granero rejects speculation he wants to quit Loftus Road

Esteban Granero: Says he is happy at QPR, despite their lowly league position

The Spanish star joined the Hoops from Real Madrid in August and signed a four-year deal with the West London side.

But it has been a disappointing start to life in England, with Mark Hughes' men currently bottom of the Premier League.

Rangers have taken just four points from their opening 11 matches and are yet to register their first win of the campaign.

But Granero told Sky Sports: "I assure every supporter - I want to be here.

"I have heard some of that [speculation], but it's not true.

"I came here to face challenges and I'm not the kind of footballer who runs away when things are not going very good.

"I like being here. I want to push the team to the place they deserve."

Mark Hughes pleased with Queens Park Rangers display in 1-0 defeat at Stoke

Mark Hughes: Queens Park Rangers manager pleased with display against Stoke

QPR are still waiting for a first Premier League win of the season after Charlie Adam's second-half goal earned Stoke victory at the Britannia Stadium.

Hughes felt his side controlled the game for large parts and also handled the threat posed by Stoke, but saw his team lack a killer touch in front of goal.

"We keep on having the same conversations game after game," Hughes told Sky Sports.

"We controlled the game for large periods and created good chances, but when those moments come you've got to take them and if you don't, being the away side you're going to be under pressure a little bit.

"The way Stoke play, they will put the ball into the box and it was a shame for the guys at the back, who were magnificent today. They stood up to the challenge really well.

"They made a mistake on the goal and allowed a free shot, but up to that period, in terms of play and getting the ball down, our passing and moving was good in that r espect."

When asked about the importance of scoring the first goal, Hughes added: "It always is, whoever you're playing and whatever level you're playing at, but particularly in the Premier League.

"You're up against accomplished players and Stoke have been in the Premier League a long time.

"When you go behind it becomes difficult. Credit to the guys, they really stuck at it and kept on trying to do the right things."

Alejandro Faurlin does not believe Mark Hughes is at fault for QPR's position

Alejandro Faurlin: Continues to back under-fire manager Hughes

QPR were beaten 1-0 at Stoke on Saturday to leave them rock-bottom of the Premier League, having failed to win any of their opening 11 games, losing seven.

Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has continued to back Hughes despite the club's torrid start and Argentinian midfielder Faurlin believes the boss is doing everything he can to turn things around.

He told The Sun: "The gaffer and his staff are doing everything to help us perform.

"Throughout the preparation and at half-time in the games, he is always positive and showing how much he believes in us.

"We're all disappointed we've not repaid that faith and are determined to put it right."

Faurlin says next weekend's home clash against fellow strugglers Southampton will be crucial for QPR ahead of their visit to Manchester United the following week.

"It is a real cup final for us, and we must stand up to the challenge and make sure we do enough to win," he said.

"The re's a lot riding on it, particularly with a trip to Manchester United coming up the week after."

Faurlin added: "We're professionals and capable of turning things round, so we must keep working to that end. Every game is like a final for us."

Minggu, 11 November 2012

Julio Cesar says he spoke to Arsenal before joining Queens Park Rangers

Julio Cesar: Snubbed Arsenal in favour of a move to Loftus Road

The Brazilian goalkeeper arrived in the Premier League over the summer in a surprise switch from Inter Milan.

The UEFA Champions League winner has graced the very top of the game and was expected to join another title-chasing club after taking the decision to leave Italy.

He admits he could have made a move to the Emirates, but says he was enticed to Loftus Road as there is greater scope to fill a directorial role there once he hangs up his gloves.

Cesar told The Sunday People: "I accepted this proposal because I wanted to live in London.

"I have an amazing way of life here and I'm giving my family a great opportunity to grow up culturally.

"I talked with Arsenal in the last transfer window, and they were really happy about me playing for them, but at the last minute I moved to QPR.

"QPR has a project, and I dream about that project coming true. But I came here because I was thinking about my future once I quit football, that 's true."


He added: "The directors have signed 11 footballers, and when you put them all into a team, it will be difficult for that team to work immediately.

"That's why QPR haven't won yet. We don't have an identity yet. But let me tell you we are on the right track.

"The fact that I can speak Portuguese, Italian and now English will give me opportunities in the future to be a director once I quit football. Even at QPR I could work as a director."

Pulis content as Stoke beat R's

Pulis: Result mattered more than performance

The Potters' win was only the second they have registered in their 11 Premier League games this season, and in 17 including the end of last term.

QPR were the better team for long periods of Saturday's contest and Pulis had no hesitation in rating his side's display as one of their poorest of the campaign.

Overall, though, he was delighted simply to have three more points in the bag.

"I think the most important thing was to win the game," said Pulis, whose team moved up to 12th in the table on 12 points.

"I think we have played better in the previous 10 games than how we did (against QPR).

"But the longer you go without winning a game, you get nervous, uptight and a little bit edgy.

"I thought our supporters were brilliant - they could have been edgy as well, but they were very good - and the result was more important than the performance.

"We are very, very pleased that we have got the win."

He added: "Hopefull y that will be a little bit of a monkey off the players' shoulders and it will give us that little bit of confidence to step up again."

Pulis has said he feels his team are playing the best football this term that he has seen from them since their promotion to the top-flight in 2008, and was keen after the QPR match to emphasise how happy he was with their home record for the campaign so far, which also shows draws against Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland and a victory over Swansea.

"That is 11 games now, and five at home," Pulis said.

"Our home form has been fantastic so far and we have four clean sheets from those.

"We have played Arsenal and Man City, as well as tough games against Sunderland and QPR. So the return at home has been very good."

Charlie Adam netted the decisive goal on Saturday, slamming the ball home in the 52nd minute when QPR allowed it to bounce through to him from Jon Walters' flick-on.

It was Adam's fir st goal since his summer move from Liverpool, and asked about the midfielder, Pulis said: "I am pleased.

"We have moved him around a little bit, trying to get him into positions where he will score or create chances for us, and thank goodness he has come up with a goal for us."

While Adam's finish brought relief for Stoke, QPR boss Mark Hughes was left rueing the profligacy of his side as the wait for their first victory of the season continued.

With the winless Rs bottom of the table on just four points after 11 games, five points adrift of safety, the pressure is mounting on Hughes, who has described next Saturday's clash with second-bottom Southampton at Loftus Road as "huge".

Asked if it was a must-win match, Hughes said: "Yes, it is a huge game.

"It was always going to be in fairness, just by virtue of where we are in the league.

"We have to make sure this week that we build up to it correctly in terms of our preparation, which I thought we did really well this week, as we always do.

"We understood exactly the problems we were going to face (against Stoke) and we will do the same leading into the Southampton game and make sure we get three points."

Hughes had been satisfied with his team's performance in many ways, suggesting the defensive lapse for the goal was one of very few in the game, but stressed that they had to make the most of their chances.

Writing on his Twitter account, QPR owner Tony Fernandes - who has publicly backed Hughes over the past few weeks and was watching from the stands on Saturday - made it clear in his assessment that next weekend's match against the Saints was "must win".

Fernandes said: "We got to cut out errors. One error cost us and we got to take our chances.

"Team played as planned. Must win next win (sic). No panic. Table is compressed.

"Defense was awful now fairly solid. Midfield strong. Got to score now."

He adde d: "Love everything about QPR. Nothing comes easy but the pain will be worth in (sic).

"We are in for the long run. We live and learn. Doing our best."

Hughes needs time - Marsh

Hughes: QPR are bottom of the table

The London club returned to the foot of the Premier League on Saturday after they suffered their seventh defeat of a so-far winless season at Stoke.

Speculation continues to mount over the future of Rangers boss Hughes despite public statements of support from Fernandes, who is also the club owner.

Marsh, who played over 200 games for QPR, admits the team's start to the season has been poor, but he insists sacking the manager would be wrong.

"I believe you should give the manager until Christmas," former QPR striker Marsh told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"If you look at any successful team it is always based on continuity and consistency.

"Just look at Arsenal and Manchester United and what they have done with Arsene Wenger and (Sir) Alex Ferguson. Yes, they have gone 11 games without a win, but I hate it when owners keep on sacking their managers after a run of bad results.

"Mark Hughes has been under the cos h for the last four games. It was only six games into the season when they were saying 'Hughes out'.

"That can't be good for anybody within the football club. I believe in continuity and consistency."

Although Marsh is confident Hughes can drag the club out of the bottom three, he believes Fernandes made a mistake in sacking his predecessor Neil Warnock.

"I wouldn't have sacked Neil Warnock in the first place," he said.

"He got them to the Premier League. He was doing a decent job."

Fernandes took to Twitter on Saturday night to insist QPR are improving under Hughes, but he stopped short of giving his manager a full vote of confidence on the micro-blogging site, as has been the case in recent weeks.

The Malaysian also said next week's game against fellow strugglers Southampton was a "must-win" encounter, and Marsh agrees.

"Both teams are having nightmare seasons," Marsh added.

"They are in desperate trouble. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the team who loses that match will get relegated."

Sabtu, 10 November 2012

Tony Pulis says Britannia Stadium has to be a fortress for Stoke after win over QPR

Tony Pulis: Thrilled to get a win against QPR at the Britannia Stadium

The Potters had only won once this season ahead of the clash with Mark Hughes' side, but a Charlie Adam strike settled a closely-fought contest.

Pulis was delighted with the points as Stoke maintained their unbeaten record at the Britannia Stadium, insisting it was vital to grind out wins at the same time as trying to 'evolve' as a team.

"We've played really well this season and not got results, and today was much more of an even game," he told Sky Sports.

"But we've got the result and the result was the most important thing today, to give us a little bit of confidence and get that monkey off our back.

"But our home form has been terrific again, if you look at the results we've had.

"And it's another clean sheet for us at home, which is brilliant because this place has to be a fortress for us.

"We are trying to evolve the team a bit in some ways, but that takes time and we have to make sure we pick points up along the way as well."

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand claims criticism of Mark Hughes is unfair

Anton Ferdinand: Backing Mark Hughes to turn things around at QPR

The Hoops are without a win in their opening 10 Premier League games ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke and speculation about Hughes' future is rife.

But Ferdinand is adamant that the Loftus Road project is a long-term one and people should not panic over short-term problems.

"The criticism our manager is getting is unfair," said Ferdinand, quoted in The Sun.

"We are working hard for the club and trying to relieve that pressure on him. But people really need to get a sense of perspective. Rome wasn't built in a day.

"We have brought in a lot of new players and it takes time to come together as a team. We have had plenty of injuries which means the gaffer has had to change the team even more.

"We haven't had a settled side but we are working hard every day in training and we're confident of turning things around."

The 27-year-old insists his own form has not been affected despite a difficult year dealing with the fall-o ut over the John Terry race row.

He added: "Despite everything that has happened in the last year, I will not change for anybody. I still prepare the same way for games and I still conduct myself in the same way.

"Nothing will change me as a player and my professional attitude will always remain."

Hughes expects Taarabt to stay

Adel Taarabt: Wanted by Arsenal?

Taarabt has been one this season's rare successes at the west London club, who are looking to win their first game of the season at the 11th attempt when they visit Stoke on Saturday.

After joining the Rs permanently in 2010 Taarabt was a huge success, scoring 19 goals and providing countless assists to help the club earn promotion to the Premier League.

He found life hard in the top flight last season, though, with rumours of indiscipline off the pitch and poor form on it leading many to claim the 23-year-old was unable to cut it at the highest level.

Hughes seems to have got the best out of the former Tottenham man since, however. His form has led to suggestions Arsenal may move for the player, but Hughes insists Taarabt is happy at Rangers.

"It wouldn't surprise me if clubs were looking at him but I know for a fact that he is very happy here and he sees his future here," Hughes said.

"This is the best place for him because we sup port him, we give him the best chance to be successful, and he understands that."

Taarabt has missed a large chunk of QPR's season thanks to a hamstring injury, but he is now fully fit and has impressed Hughes since he returned to the Rangers starting XI almost three weeks ago.

Indeed Taarabt's form has been so good that Hughes rates him up there with some of the best players he has worked with.

Given that the Welshman has played in teams containing Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, and has managed stars like Carlos Tevez at Manchester City, such a compliment should not be taken lightly.

"He's an outstanding player," Hughes said.

"In terms of ability alone he is arguably one of the best players I have played or worked with.

"Obviously that is not the whole package. There are still parts of his game that he has to work on and he understands that.

"He is working exceptionally hard for there team, which in the past has been a criticism of him. That's not the case now.

"He is in a really good place now in terms of his attitude to his work and what he is able to produce on the pitch.

"We are really pleased with what he is showing on the pitch."

While Hughes was keen to talk about Taarabt's commitment to QPR, his own future was also up for debate as he faced the media at the club's training ground.

Hughes brought in 11 first-team players this summer - from such clubs as Inter Milan and Real Madrid - but he has failed to deliver Tony Fernandes a single win so far this term.

The QPR owner once again reaffirmed his support for Hughes this week, and the 49-year-old has no doubt he is the right man to drag the Londoners away from the relegation zone.

"If we were playing particularly poorly and not getting results then you would start to look at the situation and think maybe it's not possible to turn it around, but that's not the case," Hughes said.

"You look at our last three games and I think we have played fine in those games without getting the points we think we deserved.

"We are doing okay. There are elements of our play that need to improve because we haven't been able to see games out, but we are all convinced that will change fairly soon."

Jumat, 09 November 2012

Mark Hughes denies 'crisis meeting' as QPR search for first win

Mark Hughes: QPR boss convinced his side will soon turn their season around

Rangers have yet to win in this season's Premier League and are 19th in the table with four points from 10 matches ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke.

That form prompted Hughes to call the squad together in the run-up to the weekend, and his assistant Mark Bowen told podcast Open All Rs the management had "let individuals know in no uncertain terms it's unacceptable".

Asked about the meetings at his pre-match press conference, Hughes said: "I don't think it was any different from normal meetings we have.

"More often than not we discuss as a group every game we play. I think it's helpful, it's something I've always done. To describe it as a crisis meeting is totally off the scale, that wasn't the case.

"We pride ourselves on being able to talk as a group and work things out, and that's what we do. It certainly wasn't a crisis meeting."

Hughes retains the backing of owner Tony Fernandes and is convinced the club's fortunes will change soon.

He said: "If we were playing particularly poorly and not getting results then you would start to look at the situation and think maybe it's not possible to turn it around, but that's not the case."

Pulis hoping for lucky break

Tony Pulis: Hoping for change of luck

On the face of it, the clash appears to have 'must win' stamped all over it given Stoke are 15th with just one win from their opening 10 matches and QPR are one place off the bottom of the table and still searching for their first win.

Pulis has been happy with the performances of his side to date but accepts they need to turn performances into results.

He said: "We need a break. Look at Norwich's goal (in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat) where the ball comes off the top of his (Bradley Johnson's) head and flies into the top corner. We need something like that.

"The disappointing thing is we've players who have goals in them. The one thing I didn't think we'd have a problem with this season is scoring goals.

"But things like this happen so you have to make sure everybody stays nice and calm, keeps the belief, keeps the faith."

Pulis, meanwhile, has dismissed talk of a rift between him and QPR manager Mark Hughes.

The duo initially fell out in September 2010 when Hughes, then boss of Fulham, refused to shake Pulis' hand following a Carling Cup tie which Stoke won 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Hughes was aggrieved at what he saw as an "unnecessary" challenge from Andy Wilkinson on Mousa Dembele late in the game.

Three months later, Pulis spurned Hughes' offer of a handshake after Fulham won 2-0 in the league at the Britannia.

The two men did finally come to their senses in early 2011, when Fulham again defeated Stoke 2-0 in the return league clash at Craven Cottage.

At the end of last season Hughes, by now in charge of QPR, asked Pulis to stay for a drink, but given Rangers had beaten Stoke with a late winner in what was their final home game to aid their relegation cause, the latter thought better of it.

However, Pulis will have no qualms in extending an invitation to Hughes following Saturday's game at the Britannia.

"We had a little bit of a spat. It was two Celts having a spat and there's nothing wrong with that," Pulis said.

"There will be absolutely no problems tomorrow. I think Mark will be more concerned about getting QPR sorted out, and me the same with my team, than anything between us.

"But you have your moments in sport. We're both competitive people.

"He did invite me for a drink down at QPR last season, and he'll be invited up for a drink following tomorrow's game. That's the way it is."

Asked whether he took up the offer in May, Pulis added: "No I didn't because they got the points to help them stay up, and it was chaos there afterwards

"It was also in London, close to Bournemouth (where Pulis lives), so I shot off straight after the game."

Pulis has also backed Hughes to lead QPR to survival this season.

"I don't think anybody would have said at the start of the season QPR would be down there with the players Mark has brought in," he added.

"But there is still a long way to go, a lot of games for them to pick up points.

"I'm saying now that I'll be very surprised if they are down there come the end of the season."

Pulis will be without winger Rory Delap, who faces a hernia operation next week, while striker Michael Owen is again sidelined with a hamstring problem.