at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London - English Premier League strugglers Queens Park Rangers insisted late on Monday that Mark Hughes remained their manager after a day of Twitter rumours suggesting the Welshman had been sacked.
“Rumours suggesting Mark Hughes has been sacked as QPR manager tonight (Monday) are not true,” Ian J Taylor, the west London club's head of media and communications tweeted.
Saturday's 3-1 defeat at home to fellow relegation candidates Southampton left bottom-of-the-table QPR winless in the Premier League this season and five points adrift of 17th placed Reading.
Hughes met with QPR chief executive Philip Beard - the man Rangers chairperson Tony Fernandes sent to fire previous manager Neil Warnock - at the club's training ground on Monday.
Malaysian businessman Fernandes, the man behind budget airline AirAsia and the Caterham Formula One team, gave Hughes plenty of funds to spend on new signings in pre-season with 11 players, some from Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Chelsea, arriving at Loftus Road.
They were all expected to help guide QPR to at least a mid-table finish, something Hughes was insisting Friday remained an attainable goal.
But the defeat by Southampon extended QPR's winless run to 12 games.
QPR's upcoming opponents include Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan and former Rangers striker Rodney Marsh said Fernandes, who has been staunch in his support of Hughes for most of the season, should give the Welshman four more games in which to prove his worth as a manager.
“I would say 'We are in desperate trouble. If we don't improve our league position in four games, I am going to have to make a change.”'
Even Fernandes appeared to be wavering in his backing of former Wales striker Hughes, whose distinguished playing career saw him appear for Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as European giants Barcelona and Bayern Munich, after Saturday's loss.
“I feel gutted,” Fernandes told his Twitter followers. “I have put my heart and soul into this with my other shareholders. And done all we can to give support to players and all management.
“I can only apologise to the QPR fans. We keep fighting.
“Let me tell you fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves. QPR has amazing fans. They deserve better,” he added. - AFP