Hughes demands QPR tighten up in defence after League Cup exit to Reading
15:38 GMT, 27 September 2012
Mark Hughes is pleased with the way QPR are playing this season but knows his side need to tighten up defensively if they are to kick-start their Barclays Premier League campaign.
The west Londoners have yet to secure a top-flight victory, with their only win this season coming against npower League One minnows Walsall in the Capital One Cup earlier this month.
QPR missed out on the chance to get another morale-boosting victory in the competition on Wednesday night as fellow Premier League strugglers Reading twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Loftus Road.
We must improve: Mark Hughes watches on as Queens Park Rangers are beaten 3-2 by Reading in the League Cup
Attention now turns back to league action and Monday's home clash with West Ham in which manager Hughes wants to see an improved defensive performance.
'We have conceded poor goals,' the Welshman said when asked what areas needed improving.
'The free-kick (by Nicky Shorey) was unstoppable, in fairness. It was a fantastic strike and obviously we conceded from a set play, which is always disappointing when you've given key roles and jobs to people.
'They need to mark people in the box and they didn't do that and the third goal (was a backheel in the six-yard box).
'We need to be a little bit more understanding of what is required in those key areas of the field.
Throwaway: The night was going so well for QPR, who twice led Reading through goals from Junior Hoilett (above) and Djibril Cisse (below)
'Once we get that a lot of the other stuff of our play is very good, but obviously we need to tighten up defensively.'
For QPR there are, though, mitigating circumstances as they are without a host of key defensive players.
Anton Ferdinand, Fabio, Armand Traore and Jose Bosingwa are all currently injured and set to be sidelined yet again when the Hammers come to W12 on Monday.
'I don't anticipate there to be any guys coming back,' Hughes said.
'Armand Traore possibly might start training next week but he won't be ready for selection. Apart from that, no (there won't be anyone back).'
New signing Stephane Mbia made his full debut in QPR's depleted defence on Wednesday night. The Cameroon international has struggled with a groin complaint since joining from Marseille and impressed on his first start for the Hoops, despite giving away a penalty late on.
Strong start: Stephane Mbia looked assured on his full debut in the QPR defence
'I thought he did fine,' Hughes said of Mbia.
'Obviously it was a different type of game to what he is probably used to, but for the most part I thought he looked strong and showed what a good player he will be for us.
'He hasn't played for a couple of weeks and hasn't had that many training sessions in fairness.
'I wasn't really anticipating having to play him for the whole match, but he came through it thankfully and he'll get better.
'It was a good test for him and he understands that this is the type of game that on occasions we'll have to play in both cup competitions and the Premier League.'