Hughes has come under fire for failing to lead his side to a win in nine Premier League matches so far this season, with the Rs currently bottom of the table as a result.
But New Zealand international Nelsen has insisted the 49-year-old is doing a good job and that the players need to shoulder some of the blame.
“It’s a proper Premier League club now, which not everybody can see. It’s changed dramatically from a year ago, which from the stories I hear was pretty shambolic,” Nelsen told TalkSPORT.
|6/1||QPR are 6/1 to finish bottom of the Premier League with Bet365|
“It’s got to be so frustrating for the manager. In preparing for games, he does the maximum he can with what he can control.
“It’s up to us players to stop throwing curve balls in the way we have been. I feel very sorry for him.
“We’ve shot ourselves in the foot numerous times – whether it’s sendings-off, conceding soft goals, even some of the injuries we’ve had. Getting the same team out on more than one occasion will help and we can get some consistency.”
Despite criticism being regularly aired in Hughes’ direction, Nelsen is of the opinion that the Welshman is in fact performing impressively – especially behind the scenes.
He continued: “The owners and the board have seen what Mark and his staff have done behind the scenes with the infrastructure.
“Unfortunately the results haven’t backed that up but [owner Tony Fernandes], the board and the players see the hard work that’s been put in.”
Nelsen also believes that the Rs’ performance levels have been of a high standard, but that individual errors have cost his side dearly.
He added: “Most games come down to mistakes – the less you make, the more chance you have of winning. We’ll look at we can do right and hopefully the quality will take care of itself.
“We just need to get that one win to get the monkey off our backs. Even in our games so far we’ve done more than enough to get more points. Hopefully this is our bad run for the season."