Mark Hughes: Give QPR boss four games, says Rodney Marsh

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Hughes perplexed by QPR performance

QPR legend Rodney Marsh says manager Mark Hughes should be given four games to try to improve their form.

Rangers are bottom of the Premier League, without a win and some fans want Hughes sacked.

"If I was the owner, I would sit down now and say 'Mark, I am going to give you four games," Marsh told BBC Sport.

"I would say 'We are in desperate trouble. If we don't improve our league position in four games, I am going to have to make a change.'"

QPR's start to the season is the second worst by any club since the first Premier League campaign 20 years ago.

A 3-1 home defeat by fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday left them five points from Premier League safety.

Former England striker Marsh, who played more than 200 times for QPR in the 1960s and 70s, believes a few more matches would give Hughes the chance to confound the critics, and QPR enough time if results do not improve under him.

"There would still be 22 games left in the season if you made a change in four games' time. There would still be enough games to turn it round," said Marsh.

"At least that way everybody knows the situation - the players, the managers, the fans.

"The owner [Tony Fernandes] said last week he is behind Mark Hughes and stability is the most important thing for the football club, which I agree with.

"The top teams have the consistency and continuity that he's talking about. Unfortunately QPR are in desperate trouble early in the season.

"I don't think you can go much further down in the mire before you do make a change. It's a very difficult situation."

Former Fulham, Manchester City, Blackburn and Wales boss Hughes, who replaced Neil Warnock as manager in January, recruited 10 new players in the summer after QPR avoided relegation on the last day of the season.

But after Saturday's defeat, some fans chanted "you're only here for the money" at players and former Hoops striker Kevin Gallen said they had every right to complain.

"There's a lack of desire, a lack of team spirit. The manager has been let down by the players he's signed," said Gallen, who had two spells with QPR, scoring 97 goals in 370 appearances.

"It looks to me like they have no heart. The transfer policy at QPR is not a healthy one. We should have gone for younger, hungrier players."

Some fans have urged Fernandes to replace Welshman Hughes with ex-Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, but Marsh said Fernandes should shoulder some of the blame for QPR's predicament.

"My question would be are QPR serious when they say they have a five-year plan? If you have a five-year plan it should include a manager that's there for five years," said Marsh.

"I wouldn't have sacked Neil Warnock in the first place.

"If you sack Mark Hughes and bring in someone else who keeps you up this year, you could be in exactly the same situation as you were with Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes this time next year. In the long term, that is not a sound policy."

Paul Finney, co-founder of the QPR supporters' website Independent Rsexternal-link, said fans fear relegation could be disastrous.

"The club have spent massively, but at what cost? The fear is that we become another Portsmouth," he said.

Portsmouth dropped two divisions from the Premier League and have been in administration since February with debts estimated at about £60m.

"We could find ourselves playing in the Championship with a massive wage bill, compared to the money coming in. We have a small ground with a capacity of around 18,000," said Finney.

"At the moment we are abysmal. Apart from [defender] Ryan Nelsen, there's no leadership and it's horrible to watch."