sport

Francis: Time is of the essence

Trevor Francis has warned time is running out for QPR manager Mark Hughes following the club's dismal start to the Premier League season.

Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton left Rangers without a win in their first 12 starts and had been widely expected to result in Hughes' departure.

And while Francis, who was player-manager of the club from 1988 to 1990, hailed owner Tony Fernandes for his patience, he insisted Hughes would know more than most how imperative it is to start picking up points.

Francis said: "Mark has been around for a long time as a player and a manager and he knows what the situation is - he has got to start winning quickly or face the consequences.

"The chairman has spent very heavily and obviously he would want a better return - that's only natural.

"The chairman has been very supportive of the manager and no manager could ask for anything more than what the chairman of QPR has done there. He has been very, very supportive."

Francis, who is now fully recovered from the heart attack he suffered in April, was speaking in Sheffield at the handover of a new football kit to a junior side on behalf of Pentagon of Sheffield and Vauxhall.

He acknowledged the stark comparison between the patience of Fernandes at Rangers and the sudden decision by Chelsea to dispense with Roberto Di Matteo's services following their Champions League defeat at Juventus.

Francis added: "I don't think anybody really anticipated what happened this morning with Chelsea but when you win the Champions League it raises the bar.

"When you think what Roman Abramovich spent in the summer, as reigning European champions you would expect to be challenging for the Champions League from the first minute to the last.

"I think the Champions League is going to be a very difficult ask for them now, but once they get the likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry back, I am sure they can still challenge for the Premier League."