QPR too good to go down, says Hughes - Premier League - Football - The Independent

QPR too good to go down, says Hughes

Manager confident his side can avoid relegation despite extremely tricky run-in to end of season

Mark Hughes believes QPR have enough quality to avoid relegation with 12 "crucial" matches remaining, even though the club have won only once in 14 league games and languish 17th in the Premier League, with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

QPR welcome Everton to Loftus Road on Saturday off the back of a 1-0 defeat to their west London rivals Fulham, but manager Hughes is confident his side can pull through. "We're in a difficult situation in terms of the league and we have to turn that around," the Welshman said yesterday.

"I have every confidence in the quality of players that I have in the club now that we can do that. I have no doubt about that. What we need to do to help ourselves is make sure we keep 11 on the pitch. That does help you win Premier League games.

"We'll address that and we're looking forward to the end of the season. It is going to be really, really exciting times. It will be up and down, I'm sure there will be twists and turns, but we're of the view that we're good enough to stay up this year.

"Everybody is aware about where we are in the Premier League and the challenges this year. We've got a lot of quality in the club and, like I said, I have no doubt we can do it. We are confident and we need to get points on the board, but first and foremost you have to earn the right.

"It is OK saying that you've got enough quality, but you have to go out on the field and get points on the board. It is really difficult in the Premier League to get points, but I feel we have enough in the building to do that."

While confident of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship, Hughes has been disappointed at the number of points his side have managed to pick up since his arrival in mid-January.

QPR face six of the top seven in their remaining 12 fixtures, but Hughes is not worrying himself about the opponents. "We've come through a period where we have probably disappointed ourselves in terms of points we have been able to accumulate given the opposition," he said. "But possibly the fact we are going up against more accomplished teams may help us in terms of focus.

"We are at the point of the season where we have to get points on the board. We only have 12 games to go. Each and every one of them is going to be crucial to us so it is irrelevant really who we are up against. We have to get points on the board so we have to make sure we're up to the task."

Hughes was speaking at the premiere of The Four Year Plan – a documentary about QPR's rise from the brink of bankruptcy to the Premier League. The manager was joined at the showing in Mayfair, central London, by the majority of the first-team squad and his predecessor Neil Warnock.

"Most managers have come across certain incidents, which take them aback," Hughes said of the documentary, which will be broadcast on BBC 2 at 11.15pm on Sunday. "Possibly QPR's story has been a little bit more of a roller coaster than most. I think that is illustrated in the film.

"It is good entertainment value and there was a great ending to The Four Year Plan. Obviously, we're into year five now and we want a happy ending to what we're doing."

Everton midfielders Leon Osman and Jack Rodwell are in contention for a return from injury in Saturday's game.

Neither has played for the first team since the 2-1 defeat by Bolton on 4 January, with Osman ruled out by a knee problem while Rodwell has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. But both featured in Tuesday's reserve match against Bolton, with Osman playing for 45 minutes and scoring in the 2-2 draw while Rodwell managed an hour.

The reserves manager, Alan Stubbs, said: "Ossie was very good from the off and got 45 minutes under his belt, which should put him in contention for Saturday. He should have scored twice and I told him that at half-time, but he was our chief instigator in the first half – he was at the heart of everything.

"He showed some fantastic first touches and is just a very, very intelligent footballer so it is great for the manager to have him back in contention. Jack also played 60 minutes and that is great for him and also is another player back for the manager."

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