Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 November 2015

Hughes: Handshake up to players

Published 16/09/2012

Mark Hughes was unaware which of his QPR players would snub John Terry, second left, in the clash with Chelsea
Mark Hughes was unaware which of his QPR players would snub John Terry, second left, in the clash with Chelsea

Mark Hughes insisted he had no idea which of QPR's players planned to snub John Terry after Park Ji-Sung joined Anton Ferdinand in blanking the Chelsea captain before the goalless draw between the sides.

Ferdinand refused to acknowledge Terry and Ashley Cole as expected during the pre-match handshake at Loftus Road. It was not known how many of his Rangers team-mates would follow suit but it was still a surprise to see skipper Park - who played alongside Ferdinand's brother Rio at Manchester United - do the same, something the midfielder repeated during the coin toss.

Hughes said: "They had the discussion and I was made aware that some were prepared to shake the opposition's hand and some weren't. I didn't know which individuals and I wasn't going to push the point. It was a personal decision for each and every one of them."

Hughes was hoping talk of pre-match handshakes would draw to a close following the game.

Reiterating his opposition to the ritual, he said: "For goodness sake, we've been talking about it for God knows how long. I think it's done and dusted now.

"It's something and nothing in my view. I thought the game was what was important today and, thankfully, it was played in good spirit."

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was pleased with how Terry - who was cleared by a court of racially abusing Ferdinand this summer - and his team-mates conducted themselves during and after the so-called pleasantries.

"Both sets of players have shown a great attitude," he said. "They have shown how professional they are and they have played the game in the right spirit and it was a good derby to watch."

Hughes was equally effusive about Ferdinand, saying: "I thought Anton was excellent alongside Ryan Nelsen.

"I was pleased the players didn't lose their focus. Obviously, there was a danger of that but I realised that was not going to be the case the moment it kicked off."

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