Premier League Boot Room: January 14

Premier League Boot Room: The stats, the facts, the tips and the teams

Mark the man to get QPR up and running

Mark Hughes was the obvious choice to replace Neil Warnock once QPR owner Tony Fernandes decided he wanted a new man.

He has the pedigree and the experience for a job like this. When he went to Blackburn, who were bottom of the league at the time with a bleak future ahead of them, he quickly picked them up and sorted them out.

QPR have some quality but too many have gone missing lately.

Up for it: New Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes

Up for it: New Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes

Mark will get them organised
and fitter than they've ever been
before. Throw in a couple of January
signings and I've no doubt
that QPR will still be in the Premier
League come September.

Warnock has the ability to get
the best out of Championship
players, but I'm not sure he was
ever going to get QPR into the
top half of the Premier League.

At the start of the season, when
QPR were playing well, Adel
Taraabt was prominent, the
team played with enthusiasm
and Joey Barton was efficient.

Now the form has dropped,
Taraabt became invisible and
Barton and Co look ordinary.

They started the season playing
one up front and packing the
middle of the pitch and it seemed
to work – they won at Everton,
Wolves and Stoke. But they've
won only once at home and that
has to change. You can't mount
a charge up the table unless you
start winning at home.

In the back four, there aren't
too many you can rely on apart
from Luke Young and up front
they need a goalscorer. Heidar
Helguson has more than done
his bit with eight goals – six
more than anyone else – so who
else is going to start scoring

New man: Mark Hughes has started his task of lifting QPR away from danger

New man: Mark Hughes has started his task of lifting QPR away from danger

A centre forward with a genuine
goal threat is something qpr
are going to require as well as
proper leaders at the back.

They need a player who can
hold the line, hold up the ball,
cause a nuisance and pepper the
goal. Hughes' men have got to
be brave and take mor e
responsibility.

Strikers have to start working
the goalkeeper and midfielders
have to work

We need rough 'n' tumble

I've heard so much comment all week from all quarters about those tackles by Vincent Kompany on Nani and Glen Johnson on Joleon Lescott – and neither were red cards.

If player welfare was at risk, I'd be the first to complain but we must not lose physicality from the modern game.

When a goalkeeper comes out to punch the ball screaming his name, or when a centre half makes a fair, crunching tackle, he wants to intimidate his opponent and that's a part of football.

When a goalkeeper comes out for the ball, you know that if you compete you're likely to get a right-armer in the face.

Years ago you'd cheer a hard tackle – now fans are calling for a yellow card every time. People are being irresponsible when they encourage referees to over-react to challenges.

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