HUGHES BACKS TAARABT TO SHINE
Mark Hughes thinks Adel Taarabt will go on to fulfil his potential after watching the controversial QPR star condemn his former club Tottenham to yet another defeat at the weekend.
Taarabt came back to haunt his former employers by curling home a 25-yard free-kick to give QPR a 1-0 victory at Loftus Road.
Taarabt was dubbed the next Zinedine Zidane when he moved to England but there have always been question marks over his attitude.
Indeed Redknapp, who sold Taarabt to QPR two years ago for £1million, this season branded the 22-year-old a "fruitcake", and the player has had his fair share of disciplinary issues at Loftus Road.
He talked up a move to France that never materialised and stormed out of his team's 6-0 defeat to Fulham at half-time, while he earned a second yellow card on Saturday after kicking the ball away as Spurs prepared to take a free-kick.
Despite his dismissal, Hughes was happy with Taarabt's performance and thinks the former Lens man is finally adding the intelligence and discipline to his game that will help him hit the heights expected of him five years ago.
"Adel is now gaining game intelligence. It was always a criticism that he was possibly lacking in that in the past," the QPR boss said.
"Sometimes he would do great things in the wrong areas and other times he would make a pass when he should have retained possession, but now his understanding of the game and what is required is getting much better.
"He has obviously embraced what I have tried to tell him and it's a credit to him that he has taken it on board.
"He is still a young player. He is maturing and I think he understands that if he is going to be the player that his talent deserves then he has to listen to people like myself and the guys around him.
"If he does that and shows that discipline he will be a great player."
QPR were by far the better side at Loftus Road and thoroughly deserved to earn the fourth straight home win that lifts them three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
They were made to suffer 12 minutes of tense agony at the end, however, thanks to Taarabt's red card, but Hughes thinks his star player should not have been dismissed.
"Maybe he didn't hear the whistle," Hughes said.
"Maybe that's where the laws an ass. Maybe a little bit of common sense should have prevailed but unfortunately referees aren't allowed to do that."
Tottenham, who have now won just one of their last nine league games, put in one of their worst performances of the season.
They looked very nervous in defence and they lacked the creativity and energy going forward that they displayed in abundance in the first two thirds of the campaign.
Newcastle's win against Stoke means they are now three points clear of the Londoners, who dropped out of the top four for the first time since November yesterday.
Redknapp defiantly insisted his team will be back in the Champions League qualification places by the end of next week and dismissed the idea that his players were cracking under pressure.
He said: "The pressure isn't really on us, not really.
"That wasn't the problem today. I had a lot of injuries. Jermain Defoe was the only fit striker.
"Newcastle look good but they have to go to Chelsea. We will see what happens there.
"We have Blackburn next week. If we can beat them and Chelsea beat Newcastle we will be a point above Chelsea and will go above Newcastle on goal average."
QPR, meanwhile, face Chelsea next weekend in what will surely be a fiery-tempered affair at Stamford Bridge.
The reverse fixture between the two teams in October ended with Anton Ferdinand accusing John Terry of racially abusing him - a charge the Blues skipper denies.
The customary pre-match handshake between the two teams had to be abandoned when they met in the FA Cup in January amid fears the QPR players would snub Terry, but Hughes does not know what will happen this weekend.
He said: "I haven't thought that far ahead. (Terry) has a busy week.
"Perhaps he wont play."
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