The game itself was much like the season so far, with QPR seemingly unlucky to come away with nothing again. Stoke for their part, choose to play an ugly style of football, hoofing the ball long up to Crouch to knock down for Walters to gobble up. Ironically, on the odd occasion they decided to keep the ball on the deck and pass it, they did it quite well. But Stoke value their Premiership status above football so will not risk playing a prettier game for fear of ending up like, dare I say it, QPR.
Hughes made only the one change from the Reading game bringing back Faurlin at the expense of Mackie. Hoilett predominantly played on the left, as he used to at Blackburn last season and Taarabt played behind Cisse. (It has only taken MH 11 games to work that one out) On the whole the back four coped pretty well with Stokes aerial bombardment and set pieces, which was surprising after the failings against Reading. Bosingwa was wasteful and made too many wrong decisions, Traore ruined his first full 90 minutes in a while by being at fault for Stokes goal. Cisse was woeful, spending too much energy doing the wrong things whilst most of the R's chances went through Taarabt who was guilty of missing a guilt edged opportunity of giving QPR the lead by opting for an opulent chip instead of just slotting the ball home, which ultimately proved to be the difference between a point and nothing.
QPR played well from the back, through the middle but when the ball got to the front to Hoilett, Taarabt or Cisse never had an answer to beat a well organised and committed defence. When we did get to the final third we ran out of ideas, lacked direction and rarely got numbers in the opposition penalty area. Diakite played a more defencive role and his darting runs forward were missed today, but Granero was again clever with the ball and was unlucky not to score when his shot inside the area was well saved after good work from Taarabt. In summary we played the better football to a point, but couldn't score and conceded due to a mistake again and lost in true Mark Hughes style. Sound familiar?
|Decisions to make|
This was a significant incident as it shows that Hughes has now lost the fans and if he stays and things don't improve, then the treatment that Steve Keane got at Blackburn will seem like a lovers courtship, compared to what he will get from R' fans whose patience has been stretched far beyond breaking point.
I also watched the players body language and how they interacted with Hughes and his staff in the warm up and the subs at half time and the impression I was left with was that they seem a little disillusioned with it all. They look as if they're not sure what they're supposed to be doing and are not enjoying playing for Hughes. I looked at the broken figure of Robert Green as he walked off the pitch after his half time warm up. His face looked haunted as he walked down the tunnel oblivious to the R's faithful in front of him. He looked hurt and broken by his experience at QPR as if living a nightmare. I get the impression the patience of the players is running out and think its just a matter of time before Hughes loses the dressing room. Mark Hughes has reached the end of the road and this is why I think he has to go.
What we have at the moment is as good as we are going to get from Mark Hughes. When we are not committing harikari in defence we will play the ball out through midfield up to the top and then it will all break down. That's it, he cant get us past that, his plan A in not good enough and he does not have a plan B. It's not just this season, the writing was on the wall last season. Of his minuscule six victories, only the win against Swansea was earned without a degree of good fortune. This season, of the goals we have scored, only the goals against Spurs and Man City were crafted as a result of a team move opening up the opposition and not having to rely on a piece of individual brilliance.
Look at his under achievement at Man City and all the players he bought that he could not get to fit in, but then did well when they moved on (eg Joe). Look at the players he bought that didn't play well for City until he left (eg Kompany) He avoided relegation with Blackburn playing a physical direct game and did similar at Fulham. He earned the one of the leagues poorest away records with Fulham a feat he's managed to make even worse at QPR, but he hasn't actually achieved anything. He's full of spin and talks a good story but he never delivers. I believe he's done all he can at QPR and that he and his staff a have run out of idea's. If I thought for one minute that they had a chance of turning things around I would keep quiet. But I haven't seen anything to suggest they can or will.
|Hughes has more in common with Father Ted than just looks|
Harsh words some may think, but I've sat of the fence for long enough in the hope that Hughes could turn this around. I've come to the conclusion its not going to happen for he is as calamitous as his look a like Father Ted. Replacing him with someone else is no guarantee, but it is the only chance we have of survival. Stick with Hughes and its bye bye Premiership football and the financial security of next seasons most lucrative ever premier league TV deal. The kind of money that will give Fernandes the kind of stability QPR FC really need.
So Mr Fernandes you have to decide whether Mark Hughes is going to keep QPR in the Premier League so that this club can become financially viable. Surly this is the kind of stability that is more important than managerial continuity.
Yes I am angry at the way things have gone and yes some of the players are to blame, but ultimately its the Manager that has to sort it out, so lets get a manager who can.
Strong views this week and its been difficult not to litter this piece with expletives but these are my views.Views that I am sharing with you reader and I welcome your comments and views via the source you found this blog on or on the comment option on this blog.
So next game is a sell out at home to Southampton and I refuse to even contemplate the possibility of defeat for my own sanity. But should it happen expect the hostilities to be stepped up against Hughes.
Its got to come right soon... right?
Come on you R's
The Bush Ranger.