QPR manager Neil Warnock disappointed by Joey Barton headlines

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The Independent Online

QPR manager Neil Warnock is disappointed that Joey Barton's feud with Karl Henry has dominated the headlines this week despite what the Yorkshireman described as the "best team performance" ever given by one of his sides at Molineux last Saturday.

Rangers' new-look team put in an impressive display as they ran out 3-0 victors. However, much of the talk in the aftermath has been about Barton and Wolves midfielder Henry, who the QPR skipper accused of "trying to hurt people".

Warnock admits it is a shame that the war of words has drawn attention away from the Londoners' performance.

"You say things and do things, don't you?" he said.

"I think in that particular case, it's best to put it to bed really - it's like a Coronation Street episode. He knows my feelings on it.

"I was a little bit disappointed with the Henry things but really it all came down to a linesman stood two yards away not giving a free-kick for a terrible tackle.

"If that free-kick had been given then there would not have been any publicity or anything mentioned about it.

"Up until then I thought it was just a competitive game with no animosity.

"Henry is a good player, a good pro, like (Wolves manager) Mick (McCarthy) says.

"He's a genuine lad - Joey's the same.

"I think Joey has responded quite well in the circumstances.

"The disappointment for me was that all that was talked about was Barton and Henry when the performance was the best team performance I've ever had as a team.

"I thought the individuals in the team were absolutely magnificent but that only got one paragraph, which was disappointing.

"I explained that to Joey and he understood that.

"I think it was just a one-off because of the previous that they have had together."

QPR welcome Aston Villa to Loftus Road on Sunday.

Villa are unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season and are performing well under new manager Alex McLeish.

The Scot was a controversial appointment this summer after leaving Birmingham for their bitter local rivals, but Warnock believes he is doing a good job.

"The circumstances are that if you get relegated with a team and then a fantastic club comes and offers you a job, I think as a manager you've got to consider it," he said.

"You've got to take the flak, but are you better taking the flak in the Premier League than the Championship? I think so.

"He is a top man, I like Alex. I think he is a steady person and a steady manager.

"They've had a decent start and are undefeated so far.

"It promises to be a good game and I think it will be with the way we are playing.

"I think it will be a very open game with plenty of opportunities."

QPR have no fresh injury concerns heading into the match and may soon be able to welcome back Jamie Mackie to the fold.

The 26-year-old has been out after suffering a double leg break in an FA Cup tie with Blackburn in January, but returned to full training today for the first time.

"Jamie has been given the go-ahead to return to full training, which is fantastic news," Warnock added.

"He must have called me 14 times last night to tell me that he's fit for Sunday.

"Obviously he won't be available just yet, but it's great to have him back."

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