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Monday, January 16, 2012

QPR Report Monday: Newcastle Reports...Flashback: Mick Leach (RIP)


- -- On This Day: Mick Leach (RIP): Would Have Been Sixty-Five Today. RIP
- For comprehensive and latest QPR news-related pieces and discussion, visit the football-only, somewhat-different QPR Report Messageboard. All QPR Perspectives genuinely welcomed! Or comment on any of the articles posted below - QPR REPORT Available on TWITTER!

- On This Day: Mick Leach (RIP): Would Have Been Sixty-Five Today. RIP

- Two Years Ago: Mick Harford's First Game in Charge (After Paul Hart's Five games in charge!) QPR Plummet Downwards...41 Years ago: Gordon Jago's first Win as QPR (Caretaker) Manager

As QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes Tweeted just prior to yesterday's game: "Just had a wonderful call from Neil Warnock to wish us luck today. Top man and great to have the call before a tough game."

- Photos from Newcastle vs QPR

- Year Flashback: Warnock on Ledesma Trialing at QPR

- Two Years Ago: Paul Hart replaced by Mick Harford - after one month and five games in charge!

- Thirty-Eight Years ago! QPR Knock Chelsea out of the FA Cup in a Midweek Lunchtime Replay with Stan Bowles Winner. (Lunchtime, because no power during the "Three Day Week" of strikes/power cuts)

- "Where Are They Now...?" - News re Ex-QPRs Mike Flanagan...Joe Oaster...Simon Walton..David Kerslake

- A 2007 Interview with Mark Hughes: Why "Sparky"

- Antonio German Trialing at Scunthorpe

- Recent QPR Transfer Gossip: Player-by-Player

- Ex-QPR Youth Player Takes over as Preston Manager

- 11 Year Old QPR Trainee Gets Award/Funding Help

- Curle Applying for Bristol Rovers Job

- QPR Youth's Next Round Opponents will be known next week when Newcastle play Watford (January 19 at Newcastle)


Telegraph/Luke Edwards

Queens Park Rangers new manager Mark Hughes needs a striker to save the club from relegation

Mark Hughes did not get the win he would have dreamed of to start his reign as Queens Park Rangers manager, but he saw enough to predict they would stay up this season.

Hughes felt Queens Park Rangers created enough chances to have returned to the capital with a draw, although his predecessor used to say the same thing about a team which lacks a consistent goalscorer.
In the end, having slipped into the bottom three this weekend, safety is all that matters to Hughes and the club’s owner, Tony Fernandes, who decided last week that Neil Warnock was not up to the task.
Hughes has a tough job on his hands, but the Welshman has seen enough in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle United to believe he can make a success of the job.

“It was always going to be tough for us here with the opposition and the stage they play on, but I thought we acquitted ourselves well,” said Hughes. “I’ve been impressed with the players’ application all week and their willingness to take on board what I’ve been telling them.

“I thought we created enough chances and I’m pleased with the performance, if not the result. We’ve got a committed team and the way they approach the game and work hard for each other augers well. Overall I’m pleased with what I’ve seen and we can build on this.”

Hughes would not discuss any specific transfer plans, despite claims the club have agreed a £3 million fee with Chelsea for Brazilian centre-back Alex. But he highlighted the need for a striker after Jay Bothroyd wasted several decent openings.
“We’ve got players to come back into the side and we’re trying to bring players into the club,” said Hughes, who dismissed any suggestion he will sell Joey Barton this month. “It’s hard in January, but we have targeted players we think can make an impact.
“We need to improve our goals for column. We had some good opportunities and if we had a bit more guile we might have converted one.”

Newcastle’s win moved them above Liverpool and up into sixth and Alan Pardew is pleased with the way his squad has coped so far with the departure of Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“It wasn’t a game that was particularly entertaining or enthralling,” admitted Newcastle’s manager. “But we were very professional in what we did. We didn’t start well and just did enough to get the win.
“You’ve got to remember a lot of the guys who have come into the side are the same ones who did terrific for us last season. Danny Guthrie has won the man of the match and Leon Best got himself a goal. That will give us confidence to go through the rest of the month without Demba and Cheick.
“We are above Liverpool because we deserve to be. This isn’t just about what has happened today, it’s about 21 matches. We’ve got a very important period while those two boys are away and if we can pick up a couple of wins, we’re going to get a hell of a boost when they return.”

Pardew surprisingly defended QPR midfielder Shaun Derry, even though Yohan Cabaye was carried off as a result of his studs-up tackle and was furious a red card was not shown.
The Frenchman does not appear to have suffered any lasting damage and Pardew praised referee Chris Foy, even though he also failed to see Ákos Buzsáky’s handball in the area.
He said: “It’s a strong challenge, but Shaun Derry is a player who makes strong challenges. I thought the referee was right on top of it and it was borderline red or yellow. I think he was right to only show him the yellow because he got the ball.” Telegraph

Mark Hughes sees bright signs from his new charges

He lasted just three minutes before the confines of the dugout proved too constrictive. Just after half past one, Mark Hughes was back in football management and at 1.33pm, officially back in business. At that point it was with instructions to Luke Young about giving his new team more width. At that point, as for the first half hour, the new headmaster had a classroom sitting to full attention, players who had listened to what had effectively been a week of cramming. He barely left his technical area all afternoon.

By the end, however, Hughes was back in more familiar territory, brushing his right hand over his left in anger at the lack of tempo from his new players, and then lobbing a big insult at Chris Foy, the referee.

That relationship could have been far more fractious. Perhaps it all boils down to human nature; that after a week of vilification Foy really couldn't be bothered with any more grief.

Sending off Vincent Kompany during the Manchester FA Cup derby, a correct decision, placed him at the week's central talking-point. He could have been there again had he followed the same rules when Shaun Derry ended Yohan Cabaye's afternoon with a late, sliding challenge. It was excessive force, a player's safety was clearly in danger (Cabaye was carried from the field on a stretcher, hurling insults at Derry before throwing his gloves off in anger in the direction of the fourth official) and it was also a lunge.

This time Foy went for yellow, and perhaps in the lack of reaction afterwards (Alan Pardew: "It was probably a yellow"; Hughes: "I haven't watched it again") and the fortunate fact that Cabaye's damaged ankle was not expected to require a scan, the official may feel justified. We will worry about consistency on another day.

The challenge woke Newcastle from their lethargy, both on the field and in the stands. The loss of Cabaye was more than countered by the introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa. A spark went around St James' Park whenever Ben Arfa touched the ball as a consequence of the mesmeric strike that helped Newcastle into the fourth round of the FA Cup last week.

He was again inventive, dangerous and a spanner in the works of Hughes' hastily constructed machine. It was not coincidental that Rangers' early authority began to disappear with Ben Arfa's introduction. Before that, their pressure had produced a rising drive from Shaun Wright-Phillips that clipped the top of Tim Krul's bar and a swerving shot from Akos Buzsaky that the Newcastle goalkeeper did well to follow. Then Cabaye, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday, was carried off and all Rangers' momentum went with him.

In the 37th minute, Newcastle conjured up an opening goal that seemed to embody what Pardew asks from his side – spirit, endeavour and honesty. Jonas Gutierrez produced a stirring run on the right, his ball to Shola Ameobi was held up well and laid off to Ryan Taylor, whose momentum slightly fortuitously took the ball into the path of Leon Best, on the left-hand side of the visitors' penalty area. From there Best cleverly cut inside Young before subtly placing the ball beyond Paddy Kenny's outstretched left arm.

There was justifiable delight shown by Best, whose work-rate is sometimes overlooked, the goal being his first in 10 starts. It also proved the one moment in which any player from either team produced the kind of devilment that Hughes wanted from his side.

"Maybe with more care and more devilment we could have converted some of the many chances we created," the new QPR chief said. "But I was pleased with what we produced. The attitude and the application from the players was good.

"Certainly, I could see things that we tried to implement this week, things that we've told them time and time again; you could see that they've taken that on board – not everything will stick. It shows me that they're willing workers and that they want to improve as players."

A lack of devilment certainly applied to Jay Bothroyd, who twice spurned good opportunities early in the second half. First he shot over the crossbar after a Heidar Helgusson knockdown and then, when there was more accuracy to his low, angled drive, Krul had the reflexes to deny him at the near post.

Newcastle were not over-blessed with opportunities themselves. They had a noisy penalty appeal when Buzsaky appeared to handle the ball and then, when Kenny went AWOL, the head of Danny Gabbidon denied Guttierez's long- range effort.

That could not deflate Pardew, for whom the loss of Demba Ba andCheick Tioté to the African Cup of Nations has yet to prove significant.

"We find ourselves sixth, above Liverpool, after 21 games, not because of what happened today – we're there because we deserve to be there and it's about the next period of games," he said. "They're very, very important to us because if we can get a couple of wins when two boys are away we're going to get a hell of a boost when they come back and then we'll see what we can do.

"There's money available to me and I think we'll take a player if we think one works for us, financially and for the team. We've got a really tight bunch here and we don't want to upset it."

Finding such togetherness is the first major task for Hughes – he stressed Joey Barton would not be sold – but his assertion that QPR will not go down has credibility.

Man of the match: Ben Arfa

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside)

Attendance 49,865 Independent

Leon Best nets to lift Newcastle and worsen QPR's plight

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Comments (81)
Guardian report
Match facts
Premier League 2011-12

Newcastle United 1
Best 37
Daniel Taylor at St James' Park
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 January 2012 10.49 EST
Article history

Newcastle United's Leon Best made light of the absence of his side's leading scorer Demba Ba with a fine goal against QPR. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
For Mark Hughes this was the day it became clear why Queens Park Rangers have dropped below that little jagged line in the Premier League table and are living in fear of their toes being tagged for the relegation morgue. Their run of poor results now stretches to two points from a possible 27 and, apart from sporadic flashes, there was no real evidence here of what is seen so often when a new manager is hired and a malfunctioning team is suddenly invigorated.

A change of management can lift a football club but this was a bland and prosaic performance that Hughes will remember with little affection. After an encouraging start they looked rudderless by the end, losing to a wonderfully taken goal from Leon Best eight minutes before the break. Hughes has inherited a hard-working and willing group of players but there was rarely the sense that they had the wit or know-how to turn the game upside down and in the final stages, when a late rally might have been expected, probably the most disappointing part for Neil Warnock's successor was the way the game petered out so meekly. This was the moment when a team with confidence would have been pressing forward; instead it felt as though a white flag had been raised and that will go against all of Hughes's core values.

Hughes has been left with plenty to ponder and it is easy to understand why he is so eager to go into the transfer market before the end of January. This is a side urgently in need of new ideas, particularly when it comes to the attacking positions. A team that has managed 19 goals in 21 league fixtures must expect to be in peril and Jay Bothroyd looks noticeably short of confidence. Their most inviting chances both fell his way, early in the second half, and his shots were unconvincing in the extreme. "There are areas that we need to improve," the new manager said afterwards. "That's obvious."

He was not willing to elaborate and, as is the norm for a manager still in these getting-to-know-you stages, he did not want to appear critical of his players. Maybe this team will have more drive once Joey Barton returns from suspension. Even with their captain missing, however, it was strange to see them allow the game to fizzle out in such a tepid manner considering this was a Newcastle side missing not only Cheik Tioté and Demba Ba to the Africa Cup of Nations but also the creative influence of Yohan Cabaye inside the first half.

The Frenchman had been the subject of a late, scything tackle from Shaun Derry that, on the scale of card colours, was probably a deep shade of orange. Derry escaped with a booking for a challenge that meant Cabaye left the pitch on a stretcher – though the early diagnosis is that there is no serious injury – and at that point the temptation was to wonder how Newcastle might cope with the loss of so many key personnel.

Instead it was from here that Alan Pardew's team took command and subjected their opponents to the first spell of concerted pressure, culminating in the game's decisive moment. Best is not always the most graceful attacker but his first touch was exquisite, turning inside the full-back Luke Young and creating his shooting opportunity all in one movement. A diagonal shot was expertly placed beyond the goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and Newcastle celebrated a moment that will help to soothe their concerns about being without Ba, their leading scorer.

By that point Shaun Wright-Phillips had flicked the crossbar with a long-range shot and there were fleeting signs that Newcastle might be vulnerable. What happened after the goal, however, spoke of a QPR team developing all the signs of a losing habit. Hughes will reflect on the chances for Bothroyd – one turned over the crossbar with his weaker right foot, and the other comfortably saved by Tim Krul – but one of Newcastle's strengths this season has been their defensive unity and they dealt with their opponents quite comfortably during the last half-hour. This was their eighth clean sheet in the league, equalling their total from last season.

Hatem Ben Arfa was excellent after replacing Cabaye, running with the ball and demonstrating a spark and energy that was not always there elsewhere. Danny Guthrie worked tirelessly. Shola Ameobi was an awkward opponent alongside Best. Newcastle also had legitimate claims for a penalty after Akos Buzsaky jutted out his left arm to control the ball in the 63rd minute. The referee, Chris Foy, decided to give Buzsaky the benefit of the doubt and, from that point, the visitors should have shown more ambition to make the most of their good fortune.

At half-time the public announcer ushered in the teams by announcing the score was 3-0 to the visitors. It turned out he was looking at the yellow-card count. In truth, Hughes will reflect on his first day back in the old routine and realise that, in terms of a honeymoon period, his plane has not even left the runway. Guardian

West London Sport/Dave McIntyre - Defeat gives Hughes food for thought

Leon Best’s first-half goal condemned QPR to a losing start to Mark Hughes’ reign as manager.

Rangers had their chances – Jay Bothroyd missed two of their best – and were unlucky when Shaun Wright-Phillips hit the woodwork.

But their disjointed performance nevertheless highlighted the fact that Hughes has a sizeable task on his hands if he is to keep them in the Premier League.

Newcastle’s 37th-minute winner came when Rangers failed to clear their lines and the ball ran to Best, who tricked his way past Luke Young and coolly picked his spot.

QPR had been the more dangerous side and went close to going ahead when Wright-Phillips – still awaiting his first goal for the club – saw his right-footed volley from the edge of the area strike the top of the bar.

Akos Buzsaky, playing because of Alejandro Faurlin’s knee injury, tested Tim Krul with a swerving shot the Magpies keeper pushed away.

And Krul was given another anxious moment when Bothroyd’s effort flashed wide of the post.

Newcastle looked troubled, and their midfielder Yohan Cabaye was stretchered off after a challenge from Shaun Derry, but Best’s first goal since September swung the match in their favour.

Rangers battled on in the second half but their cause was not helped by Bothroyd’s failure to take two decent opportunities.

He fired over after Heidar Helguson had nodded down Buzsaky’s left-wing cross, and was then denied by Krul’s near-post save after being put through by Jamie Mackie’s clever pass" West London Sport

Dave McIntyre/West London Sport - Boss looks to future after QPR loss

QPR boss Mark Hughes insisted he saw encouraging signs despite his team’s defeat against Newcastle - and vowed to steer them away from trouble.

Leon Best’s first-half goal meant Rangers made a losing start to Hughes’ reign, but the Welshman said he was happy with aspects of their display.

“I’m pleased with the performance but obviously not the result,” said Hughes.

“The attitude and application of the players was good. I could see things we’ve tried to implement and things we’ve told them.

“You can only put so much information into players, and as the weeks go on without a doubt we’ll be better.

“What you saw was a committed team. It was pleasing seeing the way the players worked hard for each other and were helping each other out there – that was something I noticed.

“There are areas we can improve though – that’s obvious – and we’re looking to make Queens Park Rangers better in the future.” West London Sport


Mark Hughes refused to be too downbeat, despite seeing his new QPR side succumb to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United at The Sports Direct Arena.

Leon Best bagged the only goal of the game on Tyneside, on an afternoon when the R's deserved at least a share of the spoils following a positive performance.

"Today was always going to be difficult for us after such a short time with the squad, but I thought we acquitted ourselves very, very well," Hughes told www.qpr.co.uk.

"Change is a big thing in football and some players can cope better than others.

"All week I've been impressed with their application and their work-rate and I've again seen a lot of positives today.

"I thought we looked nice and assured in our play and the shape was very good.

"With a little bit more care of the ball, we could have converted some of the many chances we created.

"Overall I'm pleased with the performance, if not the result."

Hughes added: "As the weeks go on, without a doubt we'll get better.

"I think what you saw was a hugely committed team.

"They worked hard; looked after each other; and had a good understanding of what we wanted them to do.

"I think there are areas we can improve on - that's obvious.

"If we can bring players into the Club to help us we will do, but it's very difficult in January.

"We're in the market for good players and we're confident we'll be able to add to the squad." QPR

1 Man City 20 40 48
2 Man Utd 21 32 48
3 Tottenham 21 18 46
4 Chelsea 21 15 40
5 Arsenal 21 7 36
6 Newcastle 21 5 36
7 Liverpool 21 6 35
8 Stoke 21 -9 30
9 Norwich 21 -4 28
10 Swansea 21 -2 26
11 Everton 21 -4 25
12 Sunderland 21 3 24
13 Aston Villa 21 -4 24
14 Fulham 21 -6 23
15 West Brom 21 -10 22
16 Wolves 21 -14 18
17 Blackburn 21 -12 17
18 QPR 21 -17 17
19 Bolton 21 -21 16
20 Wigan 20 -23 15

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