Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Warnock not willing to start a war

Neil Warnock (left) and Joey Barton
Neil Warnock (left) and Joey Barton

Former QPR manager Neil Warnock is not planning on entering a war of words with former captain Joey Barton.

The veteran boss lost his job at Loftus Road two weeks ago and has since suggested forces inside and outside of the club had been "poisoning" owner Tony Fernandes against him via social networking site Twitter. That prompted Barton to launch an attack on the 63-year-old, with him tweeting that Warnock was an "embarrassment".

But writing in the Independent on Saturday morning, Warnock insisted he does not want to trade blows with the player who he signed from Newcastle in August, saying: "I'm told Joey Barton had a few things to say about me on Twitter last night. Obviously, I'm disappointed with the comments, but I don't feel there`s any need to respond."

He added: "I don`t have a problem with anybody at QPR and when I tuned in on Sunday to watch their match at Newcastle I was cheering them on.

"That might surprise people since I was sacked but most of the QPR players I brought to the club, many of them are the same players who did me so proud in winning the Championship last season, so obviously I want them to do well."

Warnock also claims his comments about Fernandes have been taken out of context. He said: "I'm not bitter at all towards Tony Fernandes and I was disappointed at the way some comments I made on TV this week were sensationalised by the tabloids.

"I was asked about tweeting and said it was a dangerous path to go down, when players and fans are tweeting the chairman, as one person's opinion could get undue weight, and it's hard to have much context in 140 characters. Then I picked up the papers and read I was "poisoned", which wasn't what I meant at all."

Warnock declined a second invitation to respond to Barton's comments when he appeared on the BBC's Football Focus programme on Saturday afternoon, and believes QPR now have a run of games where they can boost their Premier League survival hopes.

He said: "(The comments are) not going to detract from what is a fabulous club. It's been the toughest job I've ever had. I've had seven promotions and enjoyed every one but this one topped them all with what I've had to put up with off the field.

"They've got a new manager now, Mark Hughes, who is a very good manager. They start today with the first game of seven that we had planned would be our seven games to get some good points on board, and I think they can do that today. I'm really desperate for them to stay up now for the hard work they have put in."

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