Mark Hughes insists survival rather than revenge is the only motivation he needs as QPR go in search of a shock result at title-chasing Manchester City.
The west Londoners teeter dangerously over the precipice heading into the final game of the season, with just two points separating them and Bolton in the final relegation berth.
Owen Coyle’s side travel to Stoke looking to retain their top-flight status on Sunday, while the Hoops face the unenviable task of taking something off a City side on the cusp of a first league title since 1968.
The fact Hughes was unceremoniously dismissed as City boss two and a half seasons ago adds fuel to the fire, but the Rs boss is only concerned with staving off relegation.
“I am not at all surprised it has come to this given the way the season has panned out from our point of view and many other clubs,” the Welshman said.
“There have been so many ups and downs, twists and turns – it has been quite remarkable.
“Here we are now with so many issues on the last day of the season still to be resolved. It is going to be an exciting weekend.
“People keep throwing that word [revenge] up but it is not in my mind at all.
“From my point of view I am completely focused on what we have to do as you would expect.
“We have got a huge game and huge challenge. It is not going to be easy as Manchester City are an outstanding football team.
“The prize they are going for is obviously the ultimate prize and for us to deny them the opportunity to do that will be difficult.
“Everybody acknowledges that but the fact that this season has been so unpredictable means you can never say that a result is a given.
“That is certainly not how we’re thinking and we intend to go there to get the points we need to be safe.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping his former charge can do him a favour in their title hunt, but is also aware of the task ahead of QPR.
The Scot likened their task to that he faced 29 years ago to the day when he led Aberdeen to a shock victory over much-fancied Real Madrid in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
“That is one way of looking at it,” Hughes said of Ferguson’s comments. “It is a huge task.
“We haven’t done at all well on our travels and we go up there with a record that isn’t the best.
“Our away form is probably the worst in the Premier League and that doesn’t bode well for our prospects of getting something out of the game, but it is a one-off game.
“It is a huge game for Manchester City, make no bones about it.”
QPR’s task on Sunday could be made more difficult by injury problems in central midfield.
Hughes revealed today that January signing Samba Diakite will likely miss the match with a virus and could be joined on the sidelines by Shaun Derry and Akos Buzsaky.
“We are still waiting on Samba,” he added. “He is still doing light training but at this point of time it looks like he will miss out.
“Akos Buzsaky trained today for the first time after he had a little bit of a problem with a hamstring and Shaun Derry has a bang on his thigh, which is hampering him somewhat.
“It is just a dead leg but it has been a bit difficult to shake off so he didn’t train today.
“Our midfield has taken a little bit of a hit but we hope that a number of those will resolve themselves this Sunday.”