QPR & Norwich look to rebound from horrible opening week
LONDON (SE) - Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers will be looking to bounce back from disastrous starts to the season when they meet at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon.
Both the Canaries and QPR were beaten 5-0 on the opening weekend – to Fulham and Swansea respectively - with the defeat for Rangers the most surprising following a summer of heavy spending. Rangers manager Mark Hughes continued to light up the transfer market following the mauling by the Swans, and the former Manchester United star insisted that his team will learn from the loss and that the fans should still have reasons to be hopeful for the season ahead.
"It might be the making of us to be honest," said Hughes. "All in all it is a poor start to the season but it could be a blessing, get it out of the way, get it out of the system, and come back.
"I've always been of the view that you've got to keep peoples' expectations high. They don't want to be told that it's going to be a struggle again. Some managers do, knowing full well that the team has the ability to be much higher than that. I never underplay the opportunity that we have this year. I fully expect us to have a good season. Fans want to be told and hear that their team is going to have a good season, and I fully expect us to have."
The Canaries replaced departed manager Paul Lambert with the popular Chris Hughton over the summer, but the new man got off to the worst possible start with the defeat at Fulham. The club moved quickly to sure things up at the back, bringing in defender Sebastien Bassong from Tottenham on a four-year deal, and the centre-back revealed that it was the presence of the new manager that convinced him to make the move.
"Chris was the first coach in England to give me a training session when I came here from Metz so I have known him for a long time," said Bassong. "To be honest that made the difference, when you get a chance to work with someone you know really well ... it helped me a lot.
"It has been quite a confusing situation for me, I came back from loan and we (Tottenham) had a new manager so I wanted to prove myself. When you get a new manager everyone starts from zero. I was talking with AVB (Andre Villas-Boas) a couple of times and we reached an agreement that it would be better for me to leave. He is the kind of manager who wanted to give everyone the chance and see everyone playing, we had too many centre-backs at Spurs. He was really fair to me and told me I was playing well but in football there are many facts that count to make the team."
Norwich have doubts over Elliott Ward (knock) and Steven Whittaker (ankle), while Rangers are without Armand Traore (ankle).
Norwich won both meetings with QPR 2-1 last season and haven't lost to the London club since 2008. Rangers have won just eight of their 56 visits to Carrow Road in their history.