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.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little