Cisse: I want City to win title and QPR to survive

 

There is one Queens Park Ranger hoping that Manchester City win the League this afternoon. As QPR's manager, Mark Hughes, his staff and a handful of players have been recently discarded by City, some desire – beyond the obvious imperative of earning safety – to cancel the party might be understandable. But Djibril Cissé, Rangers' thrilling goal threat, wants City to do it for the sake of a friend.

"For me, the best scenario is for us to stay up and Samir to be champion," Cissé said of City's Nasri, his old team-mate from Marseilles. When Cissé joined Marseilles from Liverpool in 2006 Nasri was the great teenage hope of the club. They played two seasons together, along with Cissé's current QPR team-mate Taye Taiwo, before Nasri left for Arsenal.

But in those two years a strong friendship was forged. Cissé and Nasri are both Marseilles fans. Nasri is from the city itself, Cissé from Arles, a short drive along the coast away. The pair, opponents this afternoon, stay in very close contact. "We talk mainly every day," Cissé said. "I'd be sad for him really [if City do not win the title] because he's a really close friend."

Whether Hughes feels the same way is unclear but Cissé did say his time at City might be of use to QPR in their preparations. "The manager knows the team well," he said, "it's an advantage for us mainly."

Hughes' 18-month tenure at City, which frames so much of what will happen today, nearly included Cissé as part of it, at least according to the striker. "I had a talk with them," Cissé said."Mark Hughes was manager. My agent had a discussion at the time. I had a proposition from Marseilles and they are my club, so I decided to go there. I don't regret it – Marseilles is a big club." The timings do not quite work; Cissé left Marseilles just months after Hughes' appointment at City in 2008 but Cissé was clearly one of the many players to enter City's orbit during their long transformative journey which might culminate today.

But to describe this as City's biggest game in years is to tell half the story. Rangers themselves are playing for Premier League safety. After looking finished, five straight home wins leave them two points clear of Bolton Wanderers. Survival is in their own hands.

Cissé has won the French Cup and Champions' League and describes this as the next biggest game in his career. "I like when the pressure is high," he said. "That's when I like to play. It's something I relish."

With so much at stake, Rangers are not just underdogs. They have important work to do. "It's on both sides," Cissé said. "We have a lot to lose, they have a lot to lose too. The pressure is going to be on both teams. We play for our future and the club's future."

But there is a personal account to be settled too. Cissé's time in blue and white hoops has been traumatic as well as dramatic. Yes, he has scored five goals. But in the two games he has not scored in he has stupidly been sent off, resulting in seven games of suspension. Had he been available for those matches, Rangers might well be clear by now.

Cissé acknowledged: "I think I have to give something back to the fans and to the club. I have to pay them back." The last-minute winner against Stoke City last weekend did some good, judging by the number of fans who invaded the Loftus Road pitch singing his name, but Cissé still feels the debt has not been fully repaid.

"It's up to me to change the situation, and not let them people have these bad memories," he said.

A winning goal today would certainly change a lot. For a start it would guarantee a second Premier League season for a club out of the top flight for 14 years. And, as unlikely as outright victory is, in a meeting between the best home record and worst away record in the league, Cissé is confident.

"In my career I've never started a game thinking 'let's not lose', or whatever. I always go to win, even if it's a difficult team. For me, there's always a chance to win. So we are going for a result, and if it's a draw or a win it's good for us."

The responsibility for achieving that will not just be on Cissé's shoulders. "We've got a quite good defence. There's a lot of experience. They know what to do. That will be the key, if we defend well, we've got a chance." Someone, after all, will have to keep out Nasri.

Cisse's QPR record

1 Feb Aston Villa 2-2 QPR; Scored

4 Feb QPR 1-2 Wolves; Sent off

10 Mar Bolton 2-1 QPR; Scored

21 Mar QPR 3-2 Liverpool; Scored

24 Mar Sunderland 3-1 QPR; Sent off

29 Apr Chelsea 6-1 QPR; Scored

6 May QPR 1-0 Stoke; Scored

Overall 7 games, 5 goals, 2 red cards

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand discusses Trident and the NHS in an episode of the The Trews.
news
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore