x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Managers pleased despite Anton Ferdinand snub to John Terry

Queens Park Rangers defender refuses to shake his Chelsea counterpart's hand after the latter was cleared of a racism charge levelled by Ferdinand.

Anton Ferdinand, left, the QPR defender, avoids shaking hands with Chelsea's John Terry who was cleared of a racism charge from last season. Glyn Kirk / AFP
Anton Ferdinand, left, the QPR defender, avoids shaking hands with Chelsea's John Terry who was cleared of a racism charge from last season. Glyn Kirk / AFP

LONDON // Mark Hughes insisted he had no idea which of Queens Park Rangers' players planned to snub John Terry after Park Ji-sung joined Anton Ferdinand in blanking the Chelsea captain before the goalless draw between the sides.

Ferdinand refused to acknowledge Terry and Ashley Cole as expected during this afternoon's pre-match handshake at Loftus Road.

It was not known how many of his Rangers teammates would follow suit but it was still a surprise to see captain Park do the same, something the midfielder repeated during the coin toss.

Park spent seven years playing alongside Ferdinand's brother, Rio, at Manchester United.

Hughes said: "They had the discussion and I was made aware that some were prepared to shake the opposition's hand and some weren't. I didn't know which individuals and I wasn't going to push the point. It was a personal decision for each and every one of them."

Hughes was hoping talk of pre-match handshakes would draw to a close following the game.

Reiterating his opposition to the ritual, he said: "For goodness sake, we've been talking about it for God knows how long. I think it's done and dusted now.

"It's something and nothing in my view. I thought the game was what was important today and, thankfully, it was played in good spirit."

He added: "You can't get too misty eyed about the old days and how it used to be - a lot of things have moved on for the better.

"But I just think this element of the Respect campaign is something that causes more problems than it solves and I don't think that was its intention when it was introduced."

Opposite number Roberto di Matteo shrugged off the double snub.

"Listen, we offered and we have done our part and if other people feel differently, that's not our problem," he said, refusing to give a clear answer when asked if he thought pre-match handshakes should be scrapped. I think we should shift the focus onto the football side.

"We are here for the 90-95 minutes and not what happens before and after the game."

Di Matteo was pleased with how Terry - who was cleared by a court of racially abusing Ferdinand this summer - and his teammates conducted themselves.

"Both sets of players have shown a great attitude," he said. "They have shown how professional they are and they have played the game in the right spirit and it was a good derby to watch."

Hughes was equally effusive about Ferdinand, saying: "I thought Anton was excellent alongside Ryan Nelsen. I was pleased the players didn't lose their focus. Obviously, there was a danger of that but I realised that was not going to be the case the moment it kicked off."

Both sides suffered injury scares, with Terry pulling up at one point clutching his knee.

Di Matteo said: "We have to assess the players but it doesn't look like we have any major problems."

Hughes was not so lucky, with Fabio da Silva [hamstring] and Andrew Johnson [knee] forced off in the first half, with both set to undergo scans. The match itself was something of a non-event as Chelsea dropped their first points of the Premier League season and QPR remained winless.

The other talking points were a pair of penalty appeals the visitors saw rejected after Terry and Eden Hazard went down in the box.

Fernando Torres also appeared to take exception to being substituted, despite a risible performance.

Di Matteo said: "No player is happy when they come off, it's not a problem. I just wanted to make a change."

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