Alex Ferguson believes the problems at QPR can be attributed to a summer of upheaval at Loftus Road – and claimed their woes should be a lesson to everyone.
Mark Hughes finally paid the price this morning for a run of results that leaves the Londoners adrift at the foot of the Premier League when he was axed as manager.
The only surprise was that it came just 24 hours before QPR’s visit to Manchester United, when the deed could have been done much earlier.
Speaking barely 90 minutes before the announcement was made, Ferguson claimed that one of the problems was expecting too much from a squad that had been put together during the summer thanks to the addition of 11 new players, including former United midfielder Park Ji-sung and defender Fabio on loan.
“If you analyse things a little bit more closely it’s probably a lesson to everyone that changing a team and bringing 11 new players in to the Premier League is not easy,” said Ferguson. “But I am surprised they’ve only got four points.
“I didn’t expect them to immediately set a blazing trail or be up at the top of the league or anything like that with 11 new players to bed in, but they’ve only four points and of course that creates its own headlines.”
Ferguson will not let the sideshow distract his side from the task in hand as they attempt to avoid a hat-trick of defeats for the first time since 2001.
Ferguson’s squad will be strengthened by the return of virtually all the senior players who missed the midweek Champions League trip to Galatasaray, including Wayne Rooney – who has recovered from tonsillitis – and Chris Smalling, who had a slight shoulder problem.
With Phil Jones making his comeback from knee surgery, Ferguson has a genuine selection decision to make in defence for the first time this season.
Victory would allow United to reclaim top spot 24 hours before Chelsea host Manchester City.
“Winning games is going to be important and I want us to make sure we get some consistency and momentum going in the run up to new year,” Ferguson said.
“We have had some difficult fixtures and when you analyse the defeat last weekend, I’ve never seen a team run as hard as Norwich did in my life.
“Full credit to them; they deserved their result when you work as hard as that.”