Under-fire Hughes given more time by QPR
Poor results after heavy investment usually ends in the manager being fired, but Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes is set to be given more time to improve the fortunes of the Premier League's bottom club.
Hughes met with QPR chief executive Philip Beard for two hours on Monday after missing training, the BBC and Sky Sports reported, although the club, who have yet to win in 12 matches this season, said it was business as usual at Loftus Road.
Heavy speculation surfaced on Monday that Hughes was to be sacked after their 3-1 home loss to Southampton on Saturday which left some sections of the fans chanting 'Hughes out' only for an official to deny the claim.
"Rumours suggesting Mark Hughes has been sacked as QPR manager tonight are NOT true," QPR's head of media Ian Taylor said on his Twitter account.
The home reverse to the side one-place above them in the standings, and who have shipped more goals than anyone else in the Premier League, was the eighth defeat in 12 games for QPR.
A slow start to the campaign was envisaged after a raft of new signings were brought in to help the west London club avoid the drama of the final day of last season, when they narrowly escaped relegation.
But despite some more promising displays against Arsenal and Chelsea, they are still without a win three months in.
QPR owner, Malaysian airline tycoon Tony Fernandes, continued to back his manager on Twitter each week as the opening day 5-0 home defeat by Swansea City was followed by further losses to West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion.
They looked to have turned the corner in an unlucky 1-0 away defeat by Stoke City in their previous outing before the flat response against Southampton in a match they had been tipped to win.
Worryingly for fans, Hughes said he had no idea as to why his side had performed so poorly against the Saints, which had been billed as a must-win for the former Manchester City and Fulham boss.
"That is the enigma really because certainly last week we really performed well, got on the ball and passed and showed good intensity to our play and competed and on another day could have fairly easily one that game," Hughes said.
Fernandes missed the Southampton defeat as he was in the United States with his Formula One team Caterham, but he again took to Twitter after the match but this time with a more sober tone.
"Let me tell you Fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves. QPR has amazing fans. They deserve better," the AirAsia chief said.
Fans have also used the social media platform to voice their displeasure with many calling on former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United boss Harry Redknapp to replace Hughes with QPR four points adrift at the foot of the table.
Former QPR goalkeeper Phil Parkes criticised Fernandes and Hughes, but ex striker Rodney Marsh said the manager should be allowed more time.
"If I was the owner, I would sit down now and say 'Mark, I am going to give you four games," Marsh told the BBC.
"I would say 'We are in desperate trouble. If we don't improve our league position in four games, I am going to have to make a change.'"
Next up for QPR is an away trip to Manchester United on Saturday followed by a visit to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland, before key clashes against fellow strugglers Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic.