Manchester United & QPR met in a controversial encounter last season
Manchester United welcome Queens Park Rangers to Old Trafford tomorrow, for the fiftieth meeting between the two side. United did the double over QPR last season, winning 2-0 at Loftus Road and the same score at Old Trafford. QPR are currently without a manager, after Mark Hughes was sacked this morning.
We welcome both sets of fans to leave their comments.
A view from the opposition
We’re lucky to have a superb Q&A here from Neil Dejyothin of www.qprtoday.net:
Mark Hughes – Could he have turned things around?
That depends on what the definition of turning things around is? I think he could have saved us from relegation, but only by the skin of his teeth and in similar circumstances to last season. But I don’t think he could have taken the club forward and progress them as much as everybody had hoped when he arrived, so my answer to that would be no.
The real problem however was that the tide turned last Saturday and months of pent up frustration from a very patient fan base suddenly snapped. If that lingered it would have seen a situation develop that was similar to what happened with Steve Keen at Blackburn and nobody wants that. If he had stayed on, even if we put together a couple of decent results and the signs looked more positive, the writing was on the wall because of what happened against the Saints and any blip or further poor performances would have ignited that frustration further.
On a personal level I didn’t think he was the right appointment before he arrived, during his tenure or after, regardless of whether we stayed up or not.
How do you feel about the inevitable arrival of Harry Redknapp?
He’s a good manager with a proven track record and fits the current identity and culture of the club in terms of what the Board are looking to do with QPR; he fits their profile and in that sense is a marriage made in heaven, but he doesn’t necessarily fit the profile and history of QPR and what we’ve traditionally been all about.
He is a short term solution who is able to motivate players and get a first team playing good football. But I want more than that. I want a man who is willing to put in the time and effort for a long term vision and create a proper football club from top to bottom and that means investing in strategies that develop and educate our kids and youth players and finding an identity and style for the type of player we want at the club.
If Redknapp came in and had a good understudy to learn off him and then carry the can for that vision; then he would be a good appointment. If not, it’s kind of like going around in circles for us. We’ll have some short term success here and there followed by the same old problems and changes in management and players. I want a club with proud traditions, history and values again.
How would you sum your season up so far?
It’s been dreadful but not surprising. We’ve signed a lot of players who look well past their sell by date and are shot and we pampered them all in pre-season and made them out to be mega superstars and didn’t prepare properly. The pre-season tour to Asia was for commercial gain and that led to us not playing any sides at a level that would help us prepare for the Premier League.
The matches were so easy that we were walking the ball into the net, so it wasn’t a useful attacking exercise, and from a defensive one, we were not put under any pressure at all and had all of the possession. We didn’t work on the basics we needed that you would face against most Premier League sides, so that was our work and team shape when not in possession, how to react when put under pressure and what to do when hit on the counter when a turnover of possession occurred. We’ve simply collapsed and imploded on the first sight of any of these things happening in games and taken apart with consummate ease.
What are your thoughts on Tony Fernandes?
He’s a businessman rather than a football man and he seems to be using QPR are a means of diversifying his business entities around the globe. It’s part of a global portfolio for him and that’s why he signed Mark Hughes and has brought in all of these high profile players to match that profile. There seems to be a trend of the club thinking its a success to sign players from Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Inter Milan and saying “hey look at us guys, we’re mixing with the big boys” without doing proper due diligence on the players themselves or buying them to fit that identity and culture that I was talking about for QPR.
Aside from that he is very open with the supporters and communicates in a way that we’ve not seen before. It’s certainly very different, perhaps the style of PR isn’t for me, but you can’t but help admire that approach when so many others wouldn’t. I’m not sure if I were in his position that I would do it that way mind, but the majority do approve of the way he and some of the other directors take to social media networks such as Twitter and engage with fans.
He’s also invested into the infrastructure of the club and we have plans for a new training ground, new scouting network and youth academy and all of these are critical to the future development of QPR, so long as they are executed properly as it’s one thing creating them and another running them to the standard that’s needed. If they do that, we can grow organically rather than cheat our way through this period by splashing the cash so wildly and spending far more than what our means is.
They want a new stadium too but that’s frankly ridiculous. We’re just a small community club with great pride, passion and interest in our team. We’re like a mini Manchester United in some ways, but we’re no where near ready to grow the fan base at the rate the board want to as they’re talking 35-40K stadiums when we can barely fill 18K. Nobody wants to lose the special atmosphere Loftus Road generated or play in front of a ghost town.
Will QPR be relegated?
I have no idea and I’m not that bothered about whether we do go down or not. The only worry relegation brings is whether we can shift the players we have on the books and financially survive. I’m not convinced the current owners would stay should we drop and that’s the concern. Staying up is all about the money and it’s the pursuit of that money that has always led to the club making bad decisions about its future and the way the club is run.
There’s a strong chance we will go down. But I said the same last season and was utterly amazed we survived. We have a good chance though because I think this week has finally been a wake up call for the board and some humility has been shown and it’s amazing that we’re still only five points adrift after this many games.
What do you think of Manchester United this season?
You’ve played in fits and spurts haven’t you? But Sir Alex Ferguson knows what he’s doing and you’re still the best run club in the country and probably the world over. The signing of Robin van Persie was very shrewd and I expect you to challenge for all the major honours and probably win back the title, albeit you’re at an early transitional phase in terms of the development of some of the younger players. But that’s why van Persie coming in was so smart, to offer that experience while at his peak.
I’m always so impressed by United’s ability to adapt to teams and styles. Ferguson can change team selection, formation and mentality for home and away matches and domestic and European ones with incredible ease – he’s an absolute genius in every sense of the word.
Did Eric Cantona’s late goal in 1996 really signal the end of QPR in the Premier League?
Yes it did and there’s a lot of Rangers fans who are still very bitter about it, simply because there was far more injury time added than what was displayed on the clock that day.
Who is the best player to play for QPR and why?
In the current squad it’s Adel Taarabt, who is everything a Rangers legend should be; he’s a maverick and somewhat flawed in his ways at times (otherwise he wouldn’t be at QPR), but also a genius when he wants to be.
Away from that and overall; Les Ferdinand – what a striker he was and we’re still feeling the effects of not replacing him properly all these years on.
If you could take one United player, which one would you take and why?
Wow that’s a tough question. I’m a huge fan of Paul Scholes and think he’s a wonderful player, so if age was no concern it would be him. I think England should take him out of retirement and bin the rest of the older players and play the kids around him just like Italy do with Angelo Pirlo. He could sit there, dictate the play and let the others do all the running and learn off of him too.
Manchester United lineup
Wayne Rooney will surely return to the starting lineup having recovered from a bout of tonsillitis, which kept him out of the 1-0 defeat to Norwich City last weekend. Jonny Evans is back in training but may not make the squad tomorrow, whereas Chris Smalling is expected to be fit for the game.
Here is our starting lineup for the game:
Match Conclusion and Facts
Three out of six Stretty Rant writers predicted QPR would be relegated this season. We are still a long way off the dreaded drop, however the watching Harry Redknapp will no doubt have a lot of work to do before May. United usually bounce back after a disappointing defeat in the league and I expect Sir Alex to field a strong side tomorrow and rotate for West Ham, who travel to Old Trafford next Wednesday. Rafael has featured in the most United games this season so far with 17 appearances, closely followed by Robin van Persie on 16 – both should extend this tomorrow.
United old boy Ji Sung-Park is expected to miss the match due to an ongoing knee problem. Bobby Zamora, Andrew Johnson and Fabio, who is on loan from Manchester United, will all miss out on the game, however Stephane Mbia is back following a suspension. Zamora is a loss to QPR, who is top goal scorer with three goals (although hasn’t scored since the 2-1 defeat to West Ham October 1st), but former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is expected to lead the line. QPR are still to register a win this season, but did frustrate Arsenal at The Emirates for 84 minutes, before Mikel Arteta struck a late winner. Rangers will no doubt sit back and look to counter with Hoilett and Taarabt, but United will have to have an extreme offday not to pick up three points.
Match Prediction: 3-0
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