Mark Hughes fights for his job but QPR fans turn to Harry Redknapp

QPR manager says too much change would be wrong, but chairman’s support is ebbing away

Mark Hughes is battling to save his job as manager of Queen’s Park Rangers, hoping that the promise of a return to the fighting spirit that avoided relegation last season will earn him a last stand at Loftus Road.

His words were as tough, uncompromising and combative as his players were not in the 3-1 defeat by Southampton that leaves his job hanging by a thread, and he will have to hope that they persuade Tony Fernandes, the owner, to give him the time he needs to alter the mindset of a team that does not seem to have  noticed its perilous situation.

One bookmaker made Hughes odds-on to be sacked by midnight on Monday even before Fernandes, who was attending yesterday’s US Grand Prix, had said on Twitter that the fans had been let down and omitted to repeat his oft-tweeted support for Hughes. When he gets back to London, the message from Hughes will be that he wants to fight on.

Hughes, who took over from Neil Warnock in January, had promised in the summer that there would be no repeat of last season’s struggle against the drop, but now he must restructure his team for exactly such a scrap, which suggests that old reliables such as Shaun Derry will be back on the team sheet rather than the bench.

“We’re not talking about a successful mid-table finish now,” he said. “Given the manner of the performance today we have to accept that we’re in danger of going down.

“The sooner we recognise that, we will get the right mentality to move us forward, and maybe the right players. I have to look at the make-up of the team because today can’t be allowed to pass without changes being made in personnel.

“We have to look at who we’ve got and get the balance right.”

Southampton celebrated their first away points of the season but would be wise not to read too much into the result given Rangers’ feeble display. Hughes defended his players – up to a point – against accusations from supporters that some of them were only at Loftus Road to pick up some pretty impressive wage packets, but also  admitted that he had read the Riot Act afterwards.

“I can understand totally the frustration of the fans but I can assure them that everyone is working really hard to turn this around. When you have a performance like that, the fans are absolutely right to criticise, given where we are. In fairness, I was of the same view. We’re at a point where we’re so disappointed with what we  produced that something needed to be said. We need to understand that we have to compete and give what’s required.”

But whatever upheaval he decides on for the first team, he still believes that continuity in the dugout is essential. But then he would, wouldn’t he? “Stability is absolutely what this club needs long-term,” he said. “Making wholesale changes again would be the wrong decision. You would expect me to say that but I honestly believe it.”

And of course he praised Fernandes and the club’s shareholders for holding the same view up to now. But that resolve, if it holds, will be tested again by next weekend’s match against Manchester United at Old Trafford, followed by a visit to Sunderland, before Aston Villa come to Loftus Road for another of those must-win games that, so far, QPR have not managed to win. “The Premier League is tricky,” Hughes said. “There are no gimmes. You have to work with the same intensity and do the fundamentals well. If you don’t, you get beaten.”

Harry Redknapp, the subject of a banner held up towards the end of the match that read: “Harry come and save us,” said on Match of the Day that it would not be fair for him to discuss the job while Hughes is still in it and that his wife had made the banner. “She just wants me out of the house,” he joked, but then added, perhaps significantly: “We’ll just wait and see.”

Tony Fernandes, over to you.

Voices
Numbers of complaints about unwanted calls have trebled in just six months
voices
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
Picture of innocence: Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington in ‘Derek’
tvReview: The insights of Ricky Gervais's sweet and kind character call to mind Karl Pilkington's faux-naïf podcast observations
Life & Style
Looking familiar: The global biometrics industry is expected to grow to $20bn by 2020
tech
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Higher expectations: European economies are growing but the recovery remains weak
newsThe eurozone crisis has tipped many into despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues economist Philippe Legrain
Arts & Entertainment
Tangled up in blue: Singer-songwriter Judith Owen
musicAnd how husband Harry Shearer - of Spinal Tap and The Simpsons fame - helped her music flourish
Sport
Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
Arts & Entertainment
Paul Weller: 'I am a big supporter of independent record stores but the greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting'
music
Arts & Entertainment
William Shakespeare's influence on English culture is still strongly felt today, from his plays on stage to words we use everyday
arts
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed supporters understand the need to look at
sportScot thanks club staff and fans, but gives no specific mention of players
News
Foster and Hedison have reportedly been dating since last summer
peopleOscar-winner said to be 'totally in love' with Alexandra Hedison
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Life & Style
Balancing act: City workers at the launch of Cityfathers
lifeThe organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group boasting more than 3,000 members
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Migrants in Britain a decade on: The Poles who brought prosperity

Migrants in Britain a decade on

The Poles who brought prosperity
Philippe Legrain: 'The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - we need a European Spring'

Philippe Legrain: 'We need a European Spring'

The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues the economist
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj
Judith Owen reveals how husband Harry Shearer - star of This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons - helped her music flourish

Judith Owen: 'How my husband helped my music flourish'

Her mother's suicide and father's cancer also informed the singer-songwriter's new album, says Pierre Perrone
The online lifeline: How a housing association's remarkable educational initiative gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression

Online lifeline: Housing association's educational initiative

South Yorkshire Housing Association's free training courses gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression
Face-recognition software: Is this the end of anonymity for all of us?

Face-recognition software: The end of anonymity?

The software is already used for military surveillance, by police to identify suspects - and on Facebook
Train Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video - so how can you cash in on your candid moments?

Viral videos: Cashing in on candid moments

Train Kick Selfie Guy Jared Frank could receive anything between $30,000 to $250,000 for his misfortune - and that's just his cut of advertising revenue from being viewed on YouTube
The world's fastest elevators - 20 metres per second - are coming soon to China

World's fastest elevators coming soon to China

Whatever next? Simon Usborne finds out from Britain's highest authority on the subject
Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture that causes men to miss out on seeing their children

Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture

The organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills, a chief operating officer who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group that now boasts more than 3,000 members
Ian Herbert: Manchester United broken so badly they need a big personality to carry out overhaul

United broken so badly they need a big personality to carry out overhaul

The size of the rebuild needed at Old Trafford is a task way beyond Ryan Giggs, says Ian Herbert
Mark Schwarzer: Chelsea keeper aims to seize unlikely final chance

Mark Schwarzer: Chelsea keeper aims to seize unlikely final chance

The 41-year-old calmed his nerves to perform a classic 'Superman act' when he replaced Petr Cech in Madrid. One clean sheet later, he is now determined to become a club hero
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?