Belfast Telegraph

Hughes faces up to Cisse absence

QPR boss Mark Hughes was facing up to the prospect of having to do without striker Djibril Cisse for half of the relegation run-in after he was sent off for the second time in four games.

The 30-year-old Frenchman will miss four of the club's last eight Barclays Premier League fixtures for the straight red card he received for an ugly 55th-minute challenge on Sunderland's Fraizer Campbell during the 3-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light.

Hughes said: "That's going to hurt us because when we have been able to keep him on the pitch he has been excellent for us. He has scored something like three in five, but we can't really dwell on it."

He added: "It's spilled milk from our point of view. We have got to get on with it. I have got to focus on the personnel who are available to me. It's a crazy challenge by Djibril, and he knows that.

"It obviously compromised us, but in fairness, even if he had still stayed on the pitch, I don't think we would have won this game because we didn't start in the right manner and didn't do the right things on enough occasions. If you don't do that at Premier League level, you lose, certainly at places like Sunderland."

Asked if the former Sunderland striker had apologised, Hughes said: "That's in the dressing room. We don't have to go into that. But suffice it to say, I wasn't too delighted."

On a bad afternoon for the visitors, former Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton, who was dropped from the starting line-up after being booed by his own club's fans in midweek, courted further bad publicity by taunting home fans over the Black Cats' 5-1 defeat by the Magpies last season as he warmed up on the sideline.

Hughes said: "I wasn't aware, I was watching the game."

The home side were already leading through Nicklas Bendtner's 41st-minute header when Cisse ended any real hopes of a fightback when he lunged into a two-footed challenge on Campbell and was dismissed.

The Black Cats extended their lead with 70 minutes gone when James McClean beat Paddy Kenny from a tight angle with the help of a deflection off Nedum Onuoha, and the game was over six minutes later when Stephane Sessegnon marked his return from a three-match ban with a third. Taye Taiwo scored a late consolation.


From Belfast Telegraph