There is no Flavio Briatore these days at Loftus Road, the Italian having left his post as chairman of Queens Park Rangers this season, some months after his enforced departure from Formula One. Paulo Sousa, now the Swansea City manager but in charge of QPR until last April, was therefore denied the chance to show the man who hired – and fired – him, what he is doing with his current team. While Swansea are in the play-off zone, QPR are far closer to the relegation zone, perhaps showing who won that particular argument.
But if QPR are a happier, more stable ship now that Briatore has gone, and Neil Warnock has come in, they are far from secure. Nathan Dyer's goal threatened to give the visitors their first ever win away to QPR, but a goalmouth scramble 14 minutes from time saw Rowan Vine pass to Antonio German – two substitutes combining – and from close range the teenager tapped in to earn the west London side a point.
Sousa had himself to blame in part. "German was playing for the under-17s when I was here and I promoted him to train with the first team," Sousa said. "I'm happy for him but not so happy for me."
Thus the second Portuguese returning to a former haunt in west London this week was denied a win. Sousa has a long way to go to emulate Jose Mourinho as a manager, even if Sousa's exploits as a player, not least European Cup victories in two consecutive seasons with different clubs, are by far the more impressive. But he has taken over from Roberto Martinez this season and if he keeps them in the top six then he will have done something Martinez could not.
The Swans are seven points ahead of Sheffield United, who are seventh, so the play-offs are Sousa's to throw away. If they get to football's version of the lotto, it will be a real test of his acumen in a high-pressure environment with the Premier League in sight.
Sousa facing Warnock is a high-pressure encounter because of the bad blood that has built up between them in the Portuguese's short time in English football. Last week he was speaking out about the way he feels Warnock influences referees and encourages his players to be overly-physical.
This was Sousa v Warnock part three this season, after Swansea's two games against Crystal Palace, where Warnock was manager before he abandoned that particular sinking ship. Warnock, of course, has heard it all before and feigns not to care. However, Sousa may have been surprised to see a QPR side that was not particularly physical and featured a reticent Warnock on the touchline.
Dyer saw a shot after 12 minutes hit the inside of the post and unluckily bounce out but he persisted and gave Swansea the lead after 57 minutes with some luck attached. A long ball in the winger's direction bounced off Matthew Hill into his path and he mis-hit a lob that still went inside Carl Ikeme's post.
Sousa was shaking the QPR players' hands after the game and spoke of the friends he still had at the club but complained it was not a fair result as his side had had the best chances. Sound like anyone else you know?Reuse content