Hughes up against it in West London
Published: 29.08.12 / Written by: David Gold
Mark Hughes endured a miserable start to the season on Saturday with a 5-0 home defeat against Swansea.
It was quite a shambles, though perhaps to be expected given how many changes QPR made to their team this summer. They had brought in Rob Green, Jose Bosingwa, Fabio da Silva, Ji Sung Park, Junior Hoilett, Andrew Johnson, Ryan Nelsen and Samba Diakite.
Quite a list. Though the quality of those signed is open to much debate. But certainly you would think with players like Diakite, Nelsen, Bosingwa, da Silva and Park, that their defence would be improved.
Yet Swansea, who took so long to even score last year and did not win away from home until January, were in lethal form. It was quite an indictment of Hughes' spendthrift policy. QPR seemed a shambles as they tried to buy a team overnight. They were thrashed by a side created and nurtured over several years.
So what is Hughes' solution to the mess he has created? Buy more, it seems. Michael Dawson is set to sign from Tottenham, with Ricardo Carvalho near to a move on loan from Real Madrid and now Julio Cesar on the verge of joining. As simplistic solutions go, this is high up. Hughes on the face of it appears to be trying to copy the classic centre back combination that worked for Chelsea. A dominating tough centre half, Dawson, partnered by a quicker, more mobile player who can anticipate problems, Carvalho. Carvalho worked so well in a partnership like this for Chelsea alongside John Terry.
But Hughes sooner or later will have to recognise that he too, has to do something as a manager other than just buy for the sake of buying. It is a rash reaction to what was a shocking defeat, but nothing will fix itself until time is spent working on systems on the training ground and familiarity built. Are they going to field a team of Green, Carvalho, Dawson, da Silva, Bosingwa, Park, Diakite, Hoilett, Johnson, Cisse and Taarabt? Only one has been at QPR for more than six months.
Swansea are the perfect example of what is a real team. A group of players brought together relatively cheaply, a manager insightful enough to find talents like Nathan Dyer, Leroy Lita and Wayne Routledge, whose careers were on a downward spiral, and harness their talents to turn them into genuine Premier League stars.
It is a lesson Hughes would do well to learn. He is one of the more 'old school' managers in the league, tending to go more for direct, physical football than look to use skill, teamwork and creativity .But that is not the way football is going. More and more teams get up the leagues with passing flowing football, with hard work on the training pitch and a genuine team spirit and mentality.
That cannot be bought. Hughes would do well to heed the warning now, as the next defeat could be far, far worse.