QPR star sets team-mates challenge after Manchester United defeat

DJ Campbell is urging his team-mates to step up a level as Sunderland come to Loftus Road on Wednesday

DJ Campbell has challenged his deflated QPR team-mates to respond to their defeat to Manchester United by raising their game for the crucial visit of Sunderland on Wednesday.

Rangers were poor during their 2-0 loss yesterday, and head into the match with the Black Cats sitting just three points above the relegation zone with one win in seven games.

Sunderland, who are under the guidance of new manager Martin O’Neill, sit one place and two points below the Rs having lost 1-0 to Tottenham at the weekend, and Campbell admits it is crucial Rangers return to winning ways ahead of the difficult trip Swansea City on December 27.

“We’ve got to up our game on Wednesday because we’ve got an important match, the gaffer has said all along that that’s the big one really,” said Campbell, who replaced Heidar Helguson in the second half against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. “Manchester United was the bonus if we could get anything, but Wednesday is the big one.

“Hopefully we can beat the teams around us and stay up this year. I don’t know what the chairman is going to do in January, I suppose he’ll spend again, maybe then we can push on.

“Sunderland on Wednesday, and then Swansea are the games you have to win. You don’t go into these games thinking you’re going to lose, if we can get something on Wednesday that will be great and we can push on to the Swansea game.

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“It’s great for us as players to try to get into the team and prove that we can play here.”

Campbell admitted he will be haunted by his glaring miss against United, when, six yards out and un-marked, he ballooned Adel Taarabt’s cross onto the roof of the net.

But he insisted he will not let that howler affect his performances, and even took heart from the words of a Manchester United legend.

“Last year I was scoring that kind of goal, and I would have put my house on it that I would have buried that one,” added Campbell. “But whatever reason I didn’t connect with it properly, maybe it’s because I’ve been out for a little while and I’m rusty.

“I get a bit down. I was reading something [Ruud] van Nistelrooy said, that it’s good to get the chance, and if you miss the first one you have to go on to the next one.

“That’s what we’ve got to do, we’re strikers and we’re paid to score goals. Unfortunately I missed.”

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