QPR looked set to be held to a disappointing stalemate with a resilient Stoke outfit after a frustrating game for the hosts – but second-half substitute Cissé managed to steer Anton Ferdinand’s header from a Adel Taarabt corner past Thomas Sorensen.
Cissé’s fifth Premier League goal since moving from Lazio helped QPR seal a vital win after Bolton Wanderers conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with West Bromich Albion – a result which leaves Hughes’ side two points clear of safety ahead of a daunting trip to Manchester City next weekend.
“We knew we needed a win,” Hughes told the BBC.
“Ideally it would have been good to get a goal before we did because it wouldn’t have put heartbeats through the roof but we took it right to the wire. But in fairness, if you wanted anyone in the box for the ball to drop to, it’s Djibril Cissé because he’s an outstanding finisher.
“He made it look easier than it actually was because he had to get the trajectory of the ball and get his head down. He has frustrated and fascinated really. Obviously he’s disappointed because he’s taken himself out of the team with the suspensions but invariably when he’s played he’s had a positive impact and scored goals.
“I know he was upset because he wants to play every game as he’s missed so many, but I just felt initially we needed to have a good platform so that when he was introduced, which was always my intention, he would have an impact.”
With full-time approaching, QPR seemed to be heading for a frustrating draw and with Bolton winning at the Reebok, the Londoners looked set for the unenviable task of needing a result against league leaders Manchester City next Sunday.
But Cissé’s strike, coupled with James Morrison’s late equaliser at the Reebok saw QPR move into 16th place – and Hughes praised his side’s tenacity to grind out a crucial result at Loftus Road.
“We kept going,” added Hughes. “It wasn’t our best performance in recent times but we kept going.
“It was difficult to gain momentum. It was a little bit stop-start and a little bit scrappy. We still had to believe. We’ve given ourselves a huge lift today.”
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