QPR players could turn on the style after being blasted by Tony Fernandes

2May 2013

England - Premier League


QPR are already down and out from the Premier League, but the Hoops players have three games left to prove their worth after being lambasted by chairman Tony Fernandes. They face Arsenal at the weekend and it could be just the shop window they need ahead of a mass summer clearout, writes Hannah Duncan...


QPR's relegation at the weekend wasn't exactly headline news - it had been coming since before Christmas - but what did grab the attention was the reaction of some of the Hoops players.


Full-back Jose Bosingwa clearly caught on camera laughing and joking just moments after the final whistle had sealed his side's fate - compounding a miserable season for an expensive acquisition.


However clear their Premier League relegation had been, and for however long, Bosingwa's obvious 'Devil may care' attitude rubbed chairman Tony Fernandes - not to mention Joey Barton - up the wrong way.


Fernandes took just 24 hours to publicly tell the players how disappointed he was at their mercenary attitudes, while Barton wasn't scared of airing his own views on Twitter.


But as Michael Owen said on Match of the Day 2 at the weekend, the only reason QPR attracted the calibre of players they did was purely financial. Why else would certain players come from Europe's top clubs to play for a side barely keeping their heads above water?


It doesn't foster a good team spirit and the contrast between some of the players at Loftus Road and their young counterparts at Aston Villa - repeatedly laying their bodies on the line for the cause - has at times been laughable.


Undoubtedly much of QPR's problem this season has been based around their carefree wage structure, something started by Mark Hughes and not really averted in January by Harry Redknapp.


But what's been has been at Loftus Road and Fernandes and co. are likely to have learned some valuable lessons going into next year's Championship campaign.


The Malaysian has already announced Redknapp will remain at the club and try to get the Hoops back into England's top-flight at the first time of asking, but fans of any Championship club past or present know it's not quite that simple.


And for QPR, it's probably even less straightforward. The Rs now have a host of players on their books who barely wanted to be there while they were a Premier League side, let alone dropping into the second tier.


These players are on substantial wages, not dissimilar to Newcastle when they faced relegation in 2009. Many of the Magpies' top players stuck around at St. James' Park and the club bounced back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.


But Fernandes has left little room for the likes of Bosingwa to do the same.


So QPR are now faced with a dilemma. Stick with the undoubtedly top quality, but hugely expensive, players they have and hope attitudes change or make wholesale changes and start life in the Championship with a new squad who may take time to gel?


First and foremost, for the remainder of the season, what surely must be the focus for QPR is giving a good account of themselves.


They are currently level on points with Reading at the foot of the table and looking ahead to next season, finishing rock bottom - for which they can be backed at 2.46 - could be a psychological disadvantage.


And it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the QPR players hit back at their chairman's comments when they host Arsenal on Saturday, if for no other reason than to put themselves in the shop window. The Hoops are a huge 8.2 for victory, with the draw at 5.0.


It may be fanciful to back QPR the state they're in at present, especially as Arsenal need the points to maintain their Champions League challenge. But with the weight lifted from their shoulders, and players keen to impress for next season, the Rs could put a dent in the Gunners' top four hopes.


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Keywords: QPR, players, Tony Fernandes

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