Mark Hughes appointed as manager at QPR


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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes left little doubt QPR's ambitions matched his own today after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract to manage the west London club.

Having quit Fulham at the end of last season because he did not believe they shared his vision, Hughes predictably sought assurances on that front before committing himself to Loftus Road until 2014.

The 48-year-old former Manchester City and Wales boss was clearly won over by the plans of Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes, who sacked Neil Warnock on Sunday after seeing Rangers slump to within a point of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Reports suggest Fernandes is ready to bankroll a January recruitment drive which could see between £20million-£30million of new talent arrive at Loftus Road, with plans for a new 30,000-seater stadium also in the pipeline.

Hughes, who was heavily linked with vacancies at Aston Villa and Sunderland after leaving Fulham, told Rangers' official website, "It's a great feeling to be back in football and to be the manager of QPR.

"I'm fully aware of the challenge in the short- and long-term and I am genuinely excited about the ambition of the owners.

"Nobody can doubt the history of this great football club and the passion of its fantastically loyal supporters.

"Now the immediate priority is to consolidate our place in the Barclays Premier League, but beyond that, the future is very bright and fills me with great enthusiasm."

Chairman Fernandes said: "Mark has a proven track record in the Premier League, bringing a wealth of experience at both club and international level.

"He has a great passion to achieve as a manager and has already been hugely successful in his career.

"His ambitions match those of the board and we are delighted to have him at the helm."

Fernandes later added on Twitter: "You live or die with your decisions. I'm sorry to those I upset.

"Time will tell if we made the right or wrong decision. But a decision had to be made.

"I thank neil for all he's done and welcome mark to the QPR."

Chief executive Philip Beard said: "Having spoken at length with Mark, I know he is brimming with enthusiasm and anticipation about the challenge of taking QPR forward and I believe he is the perfect choice to deliver the success we all desire."

Hughes, who took charge of first-team training for the first time this afternoon ahead of his formal unveiling at 3pm tomorrow, will be joined at QPR by assistant manager Mark Bowen, first-team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki and goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock.

A raft of players have been linked with Rangers, including Didier Drogba, Alex, Christopher Samba, Nedum Onuoha, Darren Bent, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Bridge and Brazilian striker Henrique.

They have already seen a reported £1.5million-£2million bid rejected for Fulham forward Andy Johnson, who like Blackburn defender Samba has played under Hughes.

QPR's announcement of Hughes' appointment even identified Samba and Manchester City pair Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany as players he had previously signed.

With only 21 days of the transfer window remaining, Hughes has little time to act in the market and even less ahead of Rangers' trip to Newcastle on Sunday, before which they could find themselves in the bottom three.

It was fear of immediate relegation to the npower Championship which prompted Fernandes to axe Warnock after a return of only two points from the last eight league matches and Saturday's FA Cup scare at MK Dons.

That was despite Warnock transforming the club's fortunes in his 22 months there, ending their 15-year exile from the Premier League in his first full season at the helm.

Prior to that, Rangers had 11 managers - including caretakers - in just over four years in what was one of the most turbulent periods in their history.

Fernandes' takeover in mid-August allowed 63-year-old Warnock to add a host of big names to his squad but with mixed results.

Warnock today insisted he bore no grudges over his exit but disputed the club's decision to sack him and was confident he would have kept them up.