Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp leaps to Hughes' defence

Mark Hughes must not shoulder all the blame for his managerial stint at QPR turning sour, according to Harry Redknapp.

Hughes will return to Loftus Road with Stoke in Barclays Premier League action on Saturday, for the first time since being sacked by Rangers in November 2012.

Redknapp succeeded the former Wales forward as Hoops manager later that month, guiding the west London club through relegation and back to the top flight.

QPR had ploughed through 13 games without victory when Hughes was sacked, but Redknapp refused to criticise his predecessor's regime - despite admitting he took over a club in disarray.

"I'm sure it wasn't all down to Mark, some players come in and he's probably inherited some," said Redknapp.

"And you're never going to get a perfect group and it was probably a difficult time for him.

"It was difficult walking into a tough situation inheriting a club that hadn't won for 13 games.

"There were lots of groups at the club, the lads who had been here before, played in the Championship, the new group who came in and there wasn't a good atmosphere at that stage.

"I don't know the circumstances, he's done a good job everywhere he's been but it just didn't work out here.

"It can easily happen that things just don't work out at a specific club.

"Mark wouldn't have brought all the players in, he wouldn't have been responsible for all of that, some of them would have been at the club previously.

"He had a difficult spell but he's come back stronger from that and we move on."

Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes said in pre-season he was looking forward to three matches - the club he supports West Ham, west London rivals Chelsea, and Stoke.

Fernandes' comments were interpreted as a thinly-veiled criticism of the ex-Manchester United forward, but Redknapp insisted there will be no grudge match at Loftus Road this weekend.

"I haven't spoken to Tony this week about the game, I think Tony's got a lot of time for Mark," said Redknapp, eyeing a hike in form after last weekend's 4-0 drubbing at Manchester United.

"Things didn't work out in the end but you move on.

"I'm sure Tony gets on well with Mark Hughes.

"Mark won't lose any sleep about coming back here - there's another three points at stake.

"When you go back to a former club, you turn up for the match and you go home, and people make more of it than you do yourself.

"Mark's gone to Stoke now and he's doing a great job as he has at most clubs he's been at."

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