QPR star says Hoops need five wins from next 10 games
Stand-in captain Ryan Nelsen believes QPR must win at least half of their next 10 Premier League games to haul themselves out of trouble.
Winless Rangers remain rooted to the foot of the table following their late defeat against Arsenal – a result that equalled the club’s worst start to any league season.
That increases the urgency of the Rs’ need for three points when they face Reading – the only other Premier League side still seeking a victory – on Sunday at Loftus Road.
And Nelsen, who wore the skipper’s armband in place of the injured Park Ji-Sung at the Emirates, says Rangers need to target a minimum of five wins by the time they reach the league’s halfway stage on Boxing Day.
“I think the next 10 games are massive for us, not just Reading,” Nelsen told london24.com. “In all honesty I think we’ve got to win half of them, as a minimum, which I think we’re very capable of.
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“We’re still only a win away from getting out of the bottom three and, when we go on a good run, I think this team’s capable of putting a good six, seven, eight-game unbeaten run together.
“If you look at our start, eight of the nine games we’ve played have been against top 10 teams. It’s such a fine line – in four or five of those games we could have had the win.
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“But that’s the beauty of the Premier League – it’s the finest of lines between losing and winning and we’re just falling on the wrong side of that at the moment.
“People who have seen our performances, even non-QPR people, feel they warranted more than we’re getting, so we’ve just got to keep going and tick the boxes every day and hopefully things will change.”
Rangers’ schedule in that 10-game sequence will include trips to Stoke, Manchester United and Wigan, as well as two even longer journeys to the North East.
But those destinations seem like a stroll down the road in comparison with the travelling Nelsen has already undertaken this season in his efforts to help New Zealand qualify for another World Cup.
The 35-year-old centre-back featured in the All Whites’ recent double header against Tahiti – both wins – before jetting back to London to play in QPR’s 1-1 draw with Everton.
With further qualifying games against New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands to come in the new year, Nelsen is in no hurry to call time on his international career – despite that exhausting schedule.
“Once you’re retired, you’re done for ever and I really enjoy playing for my country, but I also enjoy playing in the Premier League,” said Nelsen, who is now just one appearance short of his 50th New Zealand cap.
“You’ve just got to get on with it – no matter how much you travel or how hard it is, you’ve got to mentally shut it out. I feel good, I feel fit and I want to play as well as I can.
“I was up at 3.30am before the Everton game but it’s just 90 minutes and you’ve got to focus on those 90 minutes. If you don’t, no-one’s going to feel sorry for you.”