Man Utd V QPR at Old Trafford : Match Preview
Rio puts brotherly love aside
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has warned younger brother Anton not to expect a pat on the back if QPR record a shock win at Old Trafford. The brothers have always been close - a bond that was evident earlier this season when Rio publicly spoke up for Anton after he was allegedly racially abused by John Terry - a charge the Chelsea captain will deny in court in July. But on Sunday it will be strictly business. Family loyalties will be split, with United desperate for three points to strengthen their grip on the Barclays Premier League title and QPR's need just as obvious as they fight to stay in the top flight. And if past history is anything to go by, it would be better not to approach Rio if it all goes wrong for United. "It will be special if we win," he said.
"I can enjoy it if we win. "If we lose I go into hiding and don't come out. "I don't speak to family or anyone for a few days. That is just the way it is." At 33 and a father of three, Ferdinand might have grown out of such reactions by now. Not a bit of it. "My family just go with who needs the result," he said. "This time I don't think they can side with anyone because we both need to win. "I have blanked family and friends at Upton Park before because we have not got the right result. "They have been texting to ask where I am and I have just got on the bus and made my way back to Manchester. "I don't reply for a couple of days. I get in a sulk sometimes because I want to win." Sir Alex Ferguson's team head into the contest having hit top form at precisely the right time, picking up 31 points from the last 33 available. And, while QPR's recent results at Loftus Road include victories over Liverpool and Arsenal, it is November since they last won away from home - losing five out of seven, including their last three. In addition, the London side have recorded just one triumph in their entire history at Old Trafford, although it was a pretty impressive one as Dennis Bailey scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 success two decades ago. With two matches in four days, Ferguson has promised to make changes, which may involve a significant role for Phil Jones. The 20-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable debut season after arriving from Blackburn in the summer, even claiming one of the England berths Ferdinand used to think of as his. "Phil has done fantastically well to come into this squad, play the amount of games he has and have that kind of impact," Ferdinand said. "When you join a club like United at such a young age it can work both ways. "It can swallow you up because you can't deal with the pressure and expectations of the fans or you can swim and just keep going forward, putting in good performances and looking like you have been here for years. "He has done the latter. I am sure he has exceeded people's expectations, the manager included."
Mark Hughes believes QPR can surprise United if they put in a similar performance to that shown against Arsenal last weekend. Sir Alex Ferguson's side come into the Old Trafford clash looking for an eighth successive Barclays Premier League victory, although the Hoops' aspirations are at the other end of the table. QPR are running out of games to stave off relegation but head to the north west on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against Arsenal. Rs boss Hughes was proud of his side's performance against the Gunners and wants more of the same on Sunday. "The three points was the main thing but the pleasing part from my point of view was the manner of the performance," the Welshman said. "I think from start to finish it was a good, solid performance and we had a good understanding of what we had to do to go and get a result against them. "The lads went out and performed to the letter so really, from my point of view, we have to keep on replicating that and the application that we showed. "The determination to see the game through to its conclusion was there for everybody to see so if we show that in the games we have remaining we will pick up more points, which is obviously the order of the day." Hughes will again be without Djibril Cisse through suspension, although he can call upon DJ Campbell and Heidar Helguson once again. Both strikers have been sidelined for more than two months, but top scorer Helguson returns from a groin injury and summer signing Campbell is back after a hamstring problem.
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