Nani playing for future as QPR loom

Posted by Mark Payne

Queens Park Rangers have scored one goal in their past three games and their players have started to talk about being ashamed of their performances. And so they should be; theirs is shaping up to be one of the worst Premier League seasons on record.

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And while Sir Alex Ferguson says, "QPR are fighting for survival and we know it is going to be a hard game" -- the Manchester United manager is referring to Saturday's game versus QPR -- his opposite number, Harry Redknapp, could be forgiven if a little bit of cynicism had slipped into his demeanour. Twelve months ago he was openly talking about what he would do as England manager at Euro 2012. A few short weeks later, he was sacked by Tottenham and out of favour with the FA as the job he craved went to Roy Hodgson.

With all due respect, it must have been a tremendous comedown to accept employment at QPR, whose start to this season was like a bad reality TV show. One suspects that Redknapp doesn't really care anymore. During last week's defeat at Swansea City, it looked like most of the players didn't care either.

Of most interest to United fans is how Fabio is faring with this motley crew of misfiring pros. Although he won't be eligible to play this weekend because of the terms of his loan, the Brazilian full back has had a better season than most at Loftus Road. He has performed admirably in 15 starts and is a noticeably tougher player than when he left United at the start of the campaign.

Compatriot Anderson has earned pitch time in both of United's previous fixtures and fans are hoping he can finally, after six long years, put a run of games together. "It's important for me to not have any more injuries, because every time I think things are fine I end up having to stay out for a month," the Brazilian said this week. The end of this season could be hectic; the challenge is there if he is ready to take it.

Fergie has also chosen this week to lay down the gauntlet to Nani about his future at the club. Nobody has been subject to more departure speculation than the Portuguese, but he is brilliant on his day. One of which was Monday night against Reading.

"He has an incredible talent for winning matches. We would like him to stay," said Sir Alex on Wednesday. Another match-winning performance this weekend could well see a new contract being edged across the table toward Nani.

"We're going down there to win. That's what our job is," Ferguson concluded.

With Manchester City tackling Chelsea this weekend, there is every chance that the 12-point gap could lengthen again. United know what it takes to kick on from here, and there should be enough motivated players in the lineup to make sure the job gets done.

Follow Mark on www.twitter.com/markjpayne

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