Hughes still targeting top half

Mark Hughes has so much faith in his own ability as a manager that he thinks he can drag QPR to a mid-table finish.

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Hughes: Keeping the faith

Hughes: Keeping the faith

Mark Hughes has so much faith in his own ability as a manager that he thinks he can drag QPR to a mid-table finish this season.

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 press 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."


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