Belfast Telegraph

Defeat an eye-opener for Hughes

QPR manager Mark Hughes admitted his team's dismal first-half display in Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Blackburn had been a real eye-opener for him.

The Rs went in at the break at Ewood Park 3-0 down and although a second-half brace from substitute Jamie Mackie gave them hope, it was ultimately too little too late.

The result left the London club above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone on goal difference alone and former Rovers boss Hughes - appointed as successor to the sacked Neil Warnock at Loftus Road last month - said: "I think it is still a case of getting to know what I have to work with."

He added: "I have possibly seen things here that I didn't realise, so obviously I can work on that with them. We have got a break now for two weeks, which will help us.

"I will have a chance to work with the guys and then we have two home games which are vitally important to us. We need to be fully prepared and understand what it takes to win Premier League games - in the first half I don't think we ever understood what we needed to do."

Former Rovers boss Hughes moved to strengthen QPR's survival bid in the January transfer window by signing several new players, the most notable being strikers Djibril Cisse - currently serving a three-match suspension - and Bobby Zamora.

It was Mackie who made an impact yesterday, though, and Hughes saluted the efforts of the Scotland frontman, who had broken his leg at the same ground in an FA Cup tie last season.

"It was important for the boy," Hughes said. "It was a bad time for him, but he has come through and been great - he has actually been unlucky not to be in the side. I thought when he came on that we needed his energy and willingness to try to affect the game and for him to try to get around people, and that is what he did.

"In my eyes, he has done his prospects no harm whatsoever. Maybe some of the other players, certainly in the first half, didn't do that - although in the second half, I can't really fault the effort, desire and belief to try to get something out of the game.

"You can't give yourself that much to do, though."

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