Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sir Alex Is Hoping for QPR Miracle; Hughes Sacking Could Hit City

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sir Alex Is Hoping for QPR Miracle; Hughes Sacking Could Hit City

Article excerpt

Manchester Urnited 2 Swansea 0 SIR Alex Ferguson believes the "unethical" manner of Mark Hughes's sacking by Manchester City could help trigger a Devon Loch-style collapse next week that opens the Barclays Premier League title door for Manchester United.

Although United beat Swansea 2-0 at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon, the margin of victory was not enough to suggest they will be able to overhaul City on goal difference on the final weekend.

Instead, they will go to Sunderland hoping relegation-threatened QPR can pull off a massive shock at the Etihad Stadium by becoming only the second team to deny Roberto Mancini's men on home soil this term after City completed a 2-0 win at Newcastle half an hour before they kicked off.

It seems like a forlorn hope. But Ferguson realises QPR have plenty of incentive, first to save their top-flight skins, but also personally for Hughes, who was dumped by City after a game against Sunderland in December 2009, with Mancini already lined up to replace him.

"QPR need a point and they're fighting for survival," said Ferguson.

"The whole future of the club could be resting on the game and I only wish Sparky was playing. But Mark knows his job all right. He was sacked by City in a very unethical way and he'll remember that."

And that could contribute to a collapse as dramatic as the one suffered by Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National when he appeared to have the race at his mercy.

"There could be a Devon Loch. You never know," said Ferguson "Stranger things have happened in this game of football."

Speaking on the pitch, addressing supporters after the final whistle, Ferguson told them to get ready for "the biggest celebration of their lives" at Sunderland next week.

Should City win, it leaves United open to becoming the first team to lose the league on goal difference since they inflicted a similar fate on Leeds in 1965. "We did what we had to do, we won the match," said Ferguson. "There was optimism from our fans and ourselves about scoring a lot of goals but it was over-optimism. It wasn't too difficult to lift them before the game. …

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