QPR have lost five of their opening seven Premier League games, possess the third worst defensive record in the top flight and are anchored to the bottom of the table. But Hughes was serenity personified as he brushed off questions about his side's poor start and his future. "I understand why we are where we are," he said. "The focus on us isn't going to go away until we start winning games, so why worry about it? It's only a matter of time before we turn things round. Ideally it will be this weekend."
Asked whether he was concerned that a manager of Redknapp's calibre was available and looking for work, Hughes replied: "Not at all. I know how well I work. I know what my staff do on a daily basis. I'd put my ability up against anyone."
Hughes suggested that injuries and the fixture schedule were to blame for QPR's sluggish start. "We are probably two wins away from where we expected to be in terms of targets," he said. "That's not a million miles away from where we should be. But in our first 10 games we will have probably played eight of the top teams in the Premier League."
Hughes is hoping to be able to name his strongest XI against Everton, with Fábio da Silva the only long-term concern. "The injuries we've had are not an excuse, they're a reality," he said. "We discussed this at the start of the season. We flagged up that we might initially struggle but over the length of a long and very difficult Premier League season we will be in good shape. We just need a couple of positive results and we'll be off and running."
The QPR manager believes that his squad, which had 12 new additions over the summer, is beginning to gel. "We look really strong and focused, and we've had a good week in training, so I expect to see the benefit of that against Everton," he said.
Hughes said he was grateful for the support of the QPR chairman, Tony Fernandes, who has been his regular cheerleader on Twitter, as well as the other shareholders at the club. "Tony knew that our start would be difficult because we had so many players coming in, plus injuries, but he is very comfortable that everything will settle down," he said. I've got a great deal of support. The shareholders have been very positive. They've made a huge investment. It's our job to make sure they get a return on that."
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