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Neil Warnock will always feel bitterness towards Mark Hughes over QPR

Updated: Tuesday, 09 Apr 2013 20:07 | Comments

Neil Warnock recently left Leeds United
Neil Warnock recently left Leeds United

Neil Warnock will always feel some bitterness towards Mark Hughes for the manner in which he replaced him as QPR manager.

Hughes took over from Warnock at Loftus Road in January 2012 but lasted just 10 months - during which time he guided QPR to safety - before he was given the sack following a horror start to this season.

The wounds of Warnock's exit were re-opened earlier this month when the Yorkshireman left his post at Leeds, sarcastically claiming that he hoped Hughes would "follow me again and destroys another team of mine".

That prompted a defence of Highes record from his right-hand man Mark Bowen, but Warnock has continued the war of words.

Speaking to a QPR fans podcast called 'Open All Rs', Warnock refused to back down from his comments and claimed owner Tony Fernandes had been naive in making the change.

"I meant to say dismantled but destroyed was obviously at the back of my mind," Warnock said.

"I do feel a bit of bitterness towards Mark Hughes, I always will.

"Tony is a very clever man and his other businesses are superb but I think he would be the first to admit he trusted people too easily."

Warnock said he had been caught by surprise when he was replaced, saying he had been trying to sign former Chelsea defender Alex before Hughes' name appeared on the radar.

"I am trying to get Alex in from Chelsea with Kia (Joorabchian, the player agent who also represents Mark Hughes) and I have no doubt there were a lot of conversations going off at that time," he said.

"And all of a sudden Mark's name is in the hat. That is what was disappointing to me.

"Tony was supportive but he was naive at that stage.

"Our remit was to get to the January window out of the bottom three and we did.

"To see some easier fixtures coming up and with players lined up to come in, it was difficult to relinquish that position."

Warnock added that QPR would not have been facing relegation this season had Redknapp been in charge for the whole campaign.

QPR had four points from their first 12 Premier League games of the season when Hughes was sacked, following a massive overhaul of the squad.

Julio Cesar, Jose Bosingwa, Esteban Granero, Park Ji-sung, Stephane Mbia, Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora were all recruited under Hughes.

Warnock believes that influx of players on high wages was the crux of Hughes' problem.

"If Harry had been in charge at the start of the season I don't think there would be any problems," Warnock said.

"The problem is that there has been a divided camp in there. I would imagine quite a lot of bitterness or envy, with people who have come in on lucrative contracts and other lads doing a lot of work on relatively low wages.

"That doesn't create the togetherness you need. That was evident on Sunday (against Wigan).

"I am right behind Harry. I feel like it is my club again. That is how it should be."

Bowen said the biggest problem he and Hughes faced at Loftus Road was that they inherited a squad which contained 21 players who were not of Barclays Premier League quality.

Warnock insisted he was not to blame, arguing he had tried to strengthen the squad under the previous owners but missed out on players like Scott Parker, Ashley Williams and Danny Graham.

"You have to work out the mathematics. A lot of players they relesed were there when I went there and I couldn't get rid of them," Warnock said.

"They were on long contracts on big money. They are a lot of the ones they were talking about."

Warnock would be interested in taking on a director of football role at a club.

"There is a role between the manager and the board or the owners. There is a massive gap there and I do feel I could do a good job in that situation. We will see what develops," he said.

In the meantime, Warnock plans to reply to the 5,000 emails of good wishes he received from QPR supporters following his departure.

"They were magic moments and you won't forget them," he said.

"When I took over, it was in a nightmare situation. When we got promotion, we looked around the ground and you never forget the faces of the kids and grandads and the tears, it was amazing."

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