QPR striker Jamie Mackie has warned his team-mates they must be prepared to scrap if they are to avoid another Barclays Premier League relegation battle.
Rangers extended their winless run at the start of the season to 10 games on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Reading, leaving them already five points adrift of safety. After surviving on the final day of last season, owner Tony Fernandes invested heavily in the summer and Rangers certainly had not anticipated being in this position.
"Obviously this club is thinking big and it's a massive opportunity for the boys here to be part of something big but first and foremost we're in a scrap and everyone needs to realise that," Mackie said.
"We need to roll our sleeves up and really scrap to get ourselves out of it rather than have visions of playing a lot higher.
"Of course we don't want to be in a scrap. We need to try to win games now so come the Christmas period we're in a position where we can try to kick on."
With matches against Stoke, Southampton, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan coming up in the next month, Mackie knows QPR must start living up to their potential.
The Reading game exposed two of QPR's shortcomings - conceding early goals and vulnerability from set-pieces, with Kaspars Gorkss opening the scoring from a corner in the 16th minute before Djibril Cisse equalised 24 minutes from time.
Mackie said: "We need to start games quicker, get a foothold in the game and not let teams like Reading play against us. Once they do get a goal and they've got a carrot they're very hard to break down, they're an organised side."
Pockets of QPR fans voiced their frustration throughout the match, with a few muted calls for manager Mark Hughes' head, but Fernandes has given the Welshman his unequivocal backing.
He repeated that stance today, telling Sky Sports News: "I have complete faith in Mark Hughes and we have a great squad, we just need to hold out for that stability and I'm sure things are going to go right."
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- Jamie Mackie
- Tony Fernandes