STAND-IN skipper Ryan Nelsen insists Rangers have to ‘earn the right to play,’ as the focus switches to Saturday’s clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The R’s head north without a win to their name so far this season in the Premier League and Nelsen has laid it on the line ahead of the showdown against Sir Alex Ferguson’s high-flying side.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, the Kiwi defender said: “When the pressure is on, players have to take responsibility.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, the Premier League is just unforgiving. You’ve got to earn your right to play and win.
“You’ve got to be strong mentally and have the confidence to do something in the game at both ends of the park.”
Nelsen readily accepts that QPR were not mentally strong enough in the 3-1 defeat to Southampton at Loftus Road last weekend.
Despite clawing a goal back at the start of the second half – via Junior Hoilett’s 49th minute header – the R’s were punished for their lack of confidence at both ends of the pitch.
Nelsen added: “I thought we were poor in both boxes to be honest.
“We were all extremely disappointed. You get punished no matter who you’re playing in this league.
“The players have to hold complete responsibility for last weekend. When it mattered most, we just didn’t stand up.
“You’ve got to defend and attack the ball and we just didn’t get on the end of anything.”
R’s boss Mark Hughes admitted Rangers fans were ‘well within their rights’ to voice their displeasure against the Saints last weekend and Nelsen admits he can understand their frustrations.
“I’m not a big fan of talking about talent amongst a squad, it doesn’t mean anything,” he said.
“In this league, it’s all about mental and characteristic strength.
“When the pressure is on, you can be the most talented players in the world but when the microscope goes on you, talent goes out the window.
“I believe we need more mental strength and hopefully we can then showcase the talent to go on to win games.”
He added: “Every game from now until the end of the season is a ‘stand up and be counted’ game.
“Every player’s got to hold their hands up and do everything they can for this club to get out of where we are.”
Despite the R’s lowly league position, support from the QPR faithful has been magnificent both home and away so far this term.
“I can 100 per-cent understand the fans’ frustration but please stay with us,” concluded the 34 year-old.
“There is a real unity in the dressing room to try and get out of this and do everything we can.
“Just stay with us and we will do our best.”