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Friday, August 19, 2022

Mark Hughes delighted to pick up first points with QPR after 3-1 win over Wigan

QPR manager Mark Hughes was delighted with his team after his first Premier League victory at the Loftus Road club, winning 3-1 at home to Wigan.

A Heidar Helguson penalty opened the scoring before Akos Buzsaky scored a stunning free-kick to make it 2-0 at half time, but Hugo Rodellaga halved the deficit with another impressive free-kick, leaving Tommy Smith to secure the points with a brilliant strike late in the game.

Hughes praised his side for the way they had adapted to a difficult period following Neil Warnock’s departure, and was proud of the mental strength and togetherness they showed.

“I’m delighted,” Hughes told reporters. “A good performance. Initially we started off a little bit slowly, a bit apprehensively, but I think that’s to be expected to be perfectly honest given that we hadn’t had too many games where we’d put points on the board.

“But I thought we settled down reasonably quickly after that opening period and started to get the ball down and pass and move. Obviously we scored goals at the right time, that’s always important I think. The first goal is always important.

“It’s a good game from our point of view. We’ve just got to make sure we approach every game with the same determination, the same attitude to the work.

“We have a real understanding. It’s not easy winning Premier League games, everybody knows that, but you give yourself a better chance if you’re committed, work hard and make things happen and that’s what we did today.

“We’re working on everything in fairness, but exceptionally hard. Fair play to the lads, it’s been a difficult period for them.

“It’s only two weeks since I came through the door. To show the attitude and commitment that they are doing shows great credit because it’s not easy when you’re down at the bottom end of the table.

“You have to have mental strength, strong characters and come together as a group. I’ve sensed that there’s a real togetherness with them given the circumstances.

“I can benefit, the team can benefit and the club will benefit from that.”

The former Fulham boss also hailed Buzsaky for his stunning goal, and revealed DJ Campbell, who left the pitch at half-time, was suffering from a hamstring tweak, while declared there could be further transfer news regarding the club within the next 48 hours.

“[Buzsaky] is technically a good player and I’ve seen that technical ability and ability at set plays, and I felt that today would be a close game and we might need his ability at set plays. Thankfully that worked.

“I’m conscious that he hasn’t had that much game time of late, so when I see him flagging towards the end of games, I take him out of it, just to protect him a bit.

“I thought he was excellent today. Him and Joey [Barton] were instrumental to the performance and the result today.

“[DJ Campbell] has got a slight hamstring injury unfortunately. I thought he did really well in that first half but he’s got a slight tweak in his hamstring and we’ll get that checked out, but hopefully he hasn’t done too much damage and he’ll be back quickly.

“I don’t know [of transfer developments] today. No doubt I’ll get some updates but I would hope there had been some progress on some of them by Monday.”

Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, was very disappointed with his team, particularly with conceding the two opening goals from dead-ball situations, while he also questioned the decisions his young players made that led to the goals.

“We got punished by two goals from dead ball situations,” Martinez said. “It was a very unfortunate penalty from our point of view and an outstanding piece of quality with the free-kick and it really set us back.

“But then in the second half, once we got the ball back we were starting to get on the ball and push them back. And then there was the ridiculous decision to award the second penalty. I don’t know where that was coming from.

“But it’s disappointing; we were expecting to come here and have a better performance all round that what we showed. But it’s something that we have to accept and those are the games that get really scrappy and we need to learn from now until the end of the season that we will get into a few situations like this.

“We’ve got to fight for the ball and try to win that ball – the 50/50 and scrappy situations, and probably today it didn’t go our way once we’d given them two early goals.

“[The handball for the first penalty] the wrong decision, and obviously we’ve got young players – very talented players – and we have to invest in this type of player, a youngster you can develop, but makes the wrong decision.

“Somehow he feels that someone is going to get across him and he’s got the arm up and it’s a goal which is a really disappointing decision because it cost us dearly.

“The first goal in these kind of affairs is always very important, and from then on we were a little bit nervous and a little bit cagey.

“We gave the ball away too easily and couldn’t keep the ball in the opposition half and probably key moments in the game today, we couldn’t adapt to them too well.

“But we’re a football club with a clear mentality of how we want to play and there are certain players who are still developing how they play and still learning how they play.

“We wanted to start very sharp and we wanted to create the early threat in the game and we did that. You need to have a little bit more confidence and composure in the last third and that’s the difference of going 1-0 up or 1-0 down.

“I think you need to work really hard to score goals and today we conceded very soft goals and have only ourselves to blame.”

Martinez was pleased, however, that his team carried on playing in their own style, and stated he was still confident that his side could avoid relegation.

He continued: “From then on the attitude of the players and wanting to get on the ball and keep doing the right things was pleasing.

“It’s not easy when you go 2-0 down to keep doing the right things. We took risks, we gambled and getting the goal back was what we deserved but from then on the game went away from us and it’s a performance we need to put aside and learn from it because the next 16 games will be very scrappy games and we need to be able to play our football, understanding how to cope with the performance.

“In football, to reflect the good work in the scoreline you need to score goals. I think that man who scores 20 goals a season is the hardest thing to find in football. It costs you a lot of money and we need to be creative enough and take responsibility to score goals in other areas of the pitch.

“The hardest thing is to score that goal. In terms of being patient and building up in other areas, we do that really well and it’s just a matter of having a little bit of a clinical touch, something we need to ask of each other and develop within the squad because unfortunately we won’t be able to go out and spend the money that the clinical goalscorer costs.

“I’m really confident [of keeping the team in the Premier League]. Obviously we have to play a lot better than we did today. That’s clear.

“We didn’t adapt to the two injuries we picked up this week and that’s something we have the chance to get right with the January window.

“But we have had a tough spell. The eight defeats that we had on the trot has put us in a very difficult position but we overcame that and now we are ready. 16 games to go, we know we need to get eight wins. I think we are well capable of doing that.

“The belief is there, the desire is there and in a way we are used to facing adversity and facing this situation.”

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