Hughes toasts defining moment after 13-minute treble hoists QPR to safety


EUPHORIC QPR manager Mark Hughes last night urged his team to use an incredible three-goal fightback capped by Jamie Mackie’s injury-time winner as a springboard in their fight for Premier League survival.

Trailing to Sebastian Coates and Dirk Kuyt strikes with just 13 minutes left, Rangers roared back through Shaun Derry, former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse and Mackie to climb two points clear of the bottom three.

A first win in seven was tainted only slightly by a souring of relations between fans and captain Joey Barton, and offered Hughes fresh hope of generating momentum needed to escape an immediate return to the Championship.

“It could be a defining moment and we have to make sure it is,” said the former Fulham boss. “You hope for nights like this where things go for you and you go back on level terms. Now it’s important we look to the weekend and make sure we don’t let this go to waste.”

Barton was booed off by home fans when substituted after a poor display and later took to Twitter to admit: “I was awful tonight. Worst I’ve ever played in my career.”

He added: “Disappointed with fans booing, were [sic] meant to be in it together. They won’t break me, guaranteed. I’ve been through much worse.”

Hughes defended his skipper, saying: “He won’t let it affect him and he’ll play a big part in what we do from now to the end of the season.”