Early Doors

Patience a virtue for QPR

Early Doors

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If QPR's decision to distribute 1980s-style 3D glasses with last night's matchday programme was motivated by a desire to distract fans from the club's problems unfolding on the pitch, the ruse lasted about three minutes before those red and green specs were cast to the ground in a familiar fit of pique.

With frustration voiced at captain Park Ji-sung, and manager Mark Hughes also singled out by some fans, the 2-1 home defeat to West Ham was not an evening for enhanced reality. Something to dull the pain and a pair of dark glasses would have been more appropriate.

A dismal first half at Loftus Road, opened by an early and lucky goal from Matt Jarvis, brought into stark relief the predicament Rangers find themselves in at present. A 2-1 loss at home to West Ham leaves them bottom of the table with only two points from six games. Continue that ratio across the season and you are looking at a grand total of 13 points. Now, Early Doors is no mathematician, but that's certainty not good.

It is also just a couple of defeats away from the tally of "two points from eight games" that Harry Redknapp made into his enduring catchphrase in his early days after taking over from Juande Ramos at Spurs. Fittingly so, because if this morning's papers are to be believed then the darling of the tabloids could be ready to stop peddling Fantasy Football products in order to return to the game once more.

Certainty the pressure is now firmly on Mark Hughes, who was entrusted with QPR owner Tony Fernandes's millions when the club opted to part with Neil Warnock last season. After avoiding relegation on the final day of last season, progress has been conspicuous by its absence, despite a summer in which real quality was brought into the squad in a mad trolley dash of which Dale Winton would be proud.

Last night, QPR had a new keeper, who had himself just replaced another new keeper. A further five summer signings were on display. Against this backdrop of pretty comprehensive squad renewal, coupled with injury problems in defence and a silly second-half dismissal for Samba Diakite, it is hardly a surprise that QPR are not the cohesive unit their manager wants and needs them to be right now.

And although a tally of two points at this stage of the season is pretty poor by anyone's estimation, yet ED can't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for Hughes. There appears to be a growing school of thought that he isn't that good a manager, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Hughes did a fine job with Wales before enjoying an exemplary four years at Blackburn during which he took them to seventh in the table. Manchester City were probably correct to replace Hughes with Roberto Mancini in December 2009 but he was hardly a disaster at Eastlands. Then we come to Fulham, where a seventh-placed finish was undoubtedly spoiled by the nature of his departure as he quit after less than a year in anticipation of joining Aston Villa, only for the Midlands club to reportedly become alarmed at the manner of his exit from Craven Cottage and turn elsewhere.

That sorry little episode served to tarnish his name and if Hughes is not careful then a failure at QPR could cause near irreparable damage. No one wants the most recent spell on their CV to be a failure - you can trust ED on this one.

Thankfully for Hughes, Fernandes took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to make clear that the manager retains his full support.

"Mark will sort it out," he tweeted. "Look at his record. We would have won if we didn't go down to 10. I am relaxed and confident. Let's get all our players back and in form and fit and then let's see. Keep calm. 6 games does not make a season. I have learnt from many wise chairman."

Let's hope for Hughes's sake he means someone like Bill Kenwright and not Maurizio Zamparini.

It is far too early to be talking about sacking the manager, especially one with as good a record in the game as Hughes. QPR undoubtedly have quality: Granero and Faurlin in the centre of midfield and Cesar in goal particularly, and if given the time to gel they should congeal into a top-half team. Now is not the time for kneejerk reactions and at least Fernandes is making all the right noises.

However, if QPR do lose their next two games against the in-form West Brom and Everton then things might be a touch different. Redknapp will be the first to tell you what a tally of two points from eight games means, but then so can another former Premier League manager - a certain Neil Warnock, who in mid-season took two points from a possible 24 before being ushered out of the door at QPR by Fernandes last season.

There's very few people in football who don rose-tinted specs, after all.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I hate my social life. I hate not to be a normal father who goes with his son to his football match and be there with the 20 other fathers watching the game. The people have to come for photos; the people have to come for autographs; the people have come to insult me; the people have to go behind the goal of my kid to insult a 12-year-old kid. People think they know me, but they don't. People know the manager, especially the manager during 90 minutes. And during 90 minutes, I'm not there to have fun. I'm there to do my job, I'm there to win. I'm there with my team to try to win. I'm there and I live the game. I live the match as if it was the last of my career. People look at me and see what they see. It's the other place where people know me." - Jose Mourinho sheds light on the life of a Special One in an extensive interview with CNN.

FOREIGN VIEW: Interesting news from UEFA with Gibraltar made a provisional member of the governing body. If officially confirmed at the UEFA Congress in London in May, the British colony will become the smallest national team in Europe. However, ED reckons they will be some force, marrying Tiki-Taka sensibilities with good old fashioned British passion. What a mix.

COMING UP: It's a busy, busy night in the Champions League with eight matches coming up. Celtic kick things off at 5pm with their trip to Spartak Moscow, while Manchester United visit Cluj and Chelsea make the trip to Nordsjaelland at 7.45pm. We have live text commentary on every single match, including Barcelona's trip to Benfica and Juventus' home game against Shakhtar Donetsk. At lunch, we get blog entries from both Paul Parker and Arsene Wenger, while Pitchside Europe turns its attention to Italy, and Milan's new rising star. Oh, and there's the return of Hot or Not and the Whistleblower in our Premier League videos.

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