QPR boss identifies ‘turning point’ in survival battle

Hughes believes heroic comeback against Liverpool last month restored self-belief in his players

Mark Hughes believes QPR’s late comeback against Liverpool last month is the reason behind their remarkable turnaround in form at Loftus Road.

Rangers have been reborn in front of their own fans in recent weeks, following up that 3-2 win over the Merseysiders with consecutive victories over Arsenal, Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur.

After just two league wins in the first seven months of the season, it is QPR’s revival at Loftus Road which has dragged Hughes’s side up to 16th in the table, three points clear of the relegation zone with three games left to play.

Their final home match of the season comes against Stoke City on Sunday, May 6 – a game which they will in all likelihood need to win – but after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Spurs Hughes believes self-belief among the players is soaring.

“We have been in difficult situations before; not so long ago against Liverpool we were two down and came back to win 3-2. Maybe that was the catalyst for the form we have shown in the league,” said Hughes. “Possibly we will look back at that as the turning point in the way we have approached games here.

“It has been to our credit that we have been able to understand what was required.

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“We’ve gone up against one of the top teams again. I said to the guys I can give them the game plan and the tactical framework and formation, but they have to go out and make it work, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Victory against Tottenham was all the more important after Wigan Athletic’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham earlier in the day, and the Rs delivered with a battling display of determination and resilience, doggedly protecting the 1-0 lead given to them by Adel Taarabt’s first-half free-kick.

“We knew we had our own job to do and whatever chances we had we had to maximise them,” added the Rs manager.

“We were desperate for the three points. It was very difficult, the last 15 or 20 minutes obviously we showed real qualities that we need from now until the end of the season, and they stuck at it.”

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