Football: Alex Ferguson admitted that he will be hoping for “something stupid” to happen to Manchester City as his side aim to claim an improbable league title.
United head to Wearside for their final-day encounter with Sunderland knowing if City win, there is nothing they can do to prevent the league championship heading across town for the first time since 1968.
Ferguson expects City to come out on top against relegation-threatened QPR. However, while there is still a chance, the United boss will not abandon the fight.
“It is a last game of the season thriller,” he said. “It is fantastic for the neutral and agony for both clubs. I expect Manchester City to win. But as long as human beings are what they are, you never know. “You just hope something stupid happens.”
The straw Ferguson is clutching at stems from the knowledge a QPR side managed by United old-boy and former City boss Mark Hughes will start at Eastlands needing a point to secure their own Premier League survival.
Ferguson said last week he wished Hughes was playing.
But he is confident the toughness that characterised Hughes throughout his playing career will transmit itself to his players, many of whom could be facing uncertain futures by 5pm on Sunday evening.
“Probably most of the players will be put on the transfer list,” said Ferguson.
“A lot of their salaries will be halved from what I can gather. It is a dramatic thing for QPR.
“They have invested a bit of money and it could a big effect on the players and club.”
Given the way he was treated by City, who leaked confirmation that Hughes was leaving on the morning of a game he was in charge for, the QPR boss has plenty of personal incentive to deny the Blues. Not that Ferguson believes revenge will be a motive.
“Revenge is never a word I use,” he said. “I don’t think it is productive.
“But it would be ironic if that were to happen. The way he was sacked was terrible. His wife knew before him. It was a shock at the time but I don’t think that will matter to Mark that much.
“He was a warrior as a player and all his teams seem to mirror him.”
The fact remains though that QPR, who conceded six at Chelsea a fortnight ago and have collected just two points from their last 12 Premier League away games, have little chance of becoming only the second team to deny City a home win this season.