Friday 9 December 2016

League title the ultimate ambition for Hughes

Published 15/01/2012 | 05:00

Immediate task is to halt QPR's slide, says Jamie Jackson

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MARK Hughes takes charge of his first game as Queens Park Rangers manager at Newcastle United today with the Welshman stating he wants to become a "great manager".

His ambition is matched by Philip Beard, the chief executive, who has put winning the Premier League as the west London club's "ultimate goal", and said that, in Hughes, QPR have made the first important step towards that aim.

Hughes saved Blackburn Rovers from relegation, then finished in seventh with them in 2008, before joining Manchester City and being sacked in December 2009 when they were sixth. Last season, he left Fulham after finishing eighth.

"People view me now as a competent Premier League manager and at the end of my tenure here, whenever that might be, I would like to think they will think of me as a great Premier League manager," said Hughes.

The Welshman outlined how he will attempt to arrest a slide in which QPR have taken only one point from the last 24. "It's about the environment that I create that enable teams to prosper. In the past when I have [arrived at a club], players have maybe had to raise their game somewhat and perhaps that's the case here. I need to be organised and consistent. That's what players need -- they need structure. My first year at Blackburn was probably the best we did and that will sustain us here.

"The stadium here creates a great atmosphere and there's no reason why we can't drive the season on from here. A little bit of confidence needs to be lifted to change things quickly and we're looking to create."

Asked if the owners -- Tony Fernandes, the majority shareholder, and Lakshmi Mittal, the world's third richest man -- have told Hughes winning the title is an ambition, he said: "Not in those terms. If we're all still here in the next five, six, 10 years, then we can have that conversation. You have to have ambition."

Beard, however, set out the club's ambition clearly. "Winning the championship has to be the ultimate goal," he said. "I joined QPR because of what Tony Fernandes and the Mittal family are trying to do here and, if I can help by building a new training ground and building a new stadium, [that would be great]. But what you have to get right is what happens on the pitch and over the last few days we have brought in a man with a team behind him who can help develop the club and get us to stay in the Premier League this season and then grow.

"It's crazy to speculate how long it will take to get to the stage where we are competing for the title but, if you don't have those goals, there's not much point in doing this."

Beard said that the plans to move to a new training ground within 12 months and to a new stadium within four years are vital to the club's development.

"Staying at Loftus Road or the Harlington training ground is not going to get us where we want to go and I don't think it would have got us Mark Hughes either. We have owners who are ambitious, but they are realistic as well. What we are trying to do is develop the squad."

The proposed move to a new training ground is taking shape, he said. "We have identified a site and have plans in place. We are looking at two or three options for a new stadium and are now looking at options to fund it.

"It won't be simply a football stadium. Our intention is to build a multi-use stadium where the main tenants are QPR. It will be great for the area and that's what the current climate needs."

Hughes hopes to make Chelsea defender Alex his first signing after the two clubs agreed a fee for the Brazilian.

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