Saturday, May 12, 2012

Taarabt: Hughes looks more focused than ever ahead of vital Manchester City clash

The forward insists his manager is only out to ensure that QPR seal their Premier League survival and not to seek revenge against his former club at the Etihad Stadium


By Francisco Delgado

QPR forward Adel Taarabt believes Mark Hughes "looks more focused than ever" ahead of the crucial final-day clash with Manchester City on Sunday.

The outcome of the match at the Etihad Stadium has ramifications at both the top and the bottom of the Premier League as QPR are yet to reach safety, whilst City require a victory to be certain of pipping Manchester United to the title.

And Taarabt insists Hughes is thinking only of securing survival and not of gaining revenge over City, who sacked him in order to recruit current coach Roberto Mancini in December 2009.

"Hughes looks more focused than ever ahead of Sunday's game, but I don't think it's because of his past at City, more due to his present with us. We all have so much to play for in this last match," Taarabt told

"QPR have played better this season against the big teams in the Premier League, but it will be a great achievement if we can get a point at City.

"I don't care if we hand the title to Manchester United because what really matters to me is staying in the Premier League with QPR.

"They [City] are the worst possible team we could be playing against on the last day of the season, but the calendar came out in the summer and we can't do anything about it."

Taarabt dismissed suggestions that QPR would adopt a defensive mentality from the start against City because of the threat the current league leaders possess in the final third of the pitch.

"It's normal that City are favourites and that people are talking about the title race, but we are playing for survival and that's everything for a club," he said.

"A draw in Manchester would do but we have to play the game as best we can and go out in search of the victory. Shutting up shop to earn a draw won't be any good for us against a rival of this type and with the players they have in attack.

"City have perhaps the best attack in the whole Premier League. Any of their players can score against you at any moment, so we need total concentration for 90 minutes."

The Morocco international admitted QPR's inconsistent form has restricted their bid for survival this season but maintains a last-gasp win against Stoke City last Sunday has boosted the club's confidence heading into the tie against Mancini's men.

"Against Stoke City we saved it right at the end [with Djibril Cisse's goal], but now we have a real final against a possible champion and we have to do everything better," said Taarabt. 

"For QPR this is the game of the season and we have to give everything on the pitch. We have been very inconsistent and we should have secured survival before now.

"The team are working as hard as possible. There is pressure for both teams and the one who controls it better will come out on top this Sunday.

"People like Cisse say we can cause an upset in Manchester and we can go with confidence. The victory last weekend has made us stronger before what we have left in the league."

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