Sep 15 2012 By Matt Lewis
MARK Hughes believes his QPR players can draw on the atmosphere of the crowd in today’s highly-charged west London derby clash with Chelsea.
The Rangers boss is no stranger to these fixtures from a glittering playing career that saw him taste the Liverpool and Manchester derbies as well as featuring in El Clásico in Spain.
Emotions will be running high again this afternoon as the Blues visit Loftus Road but Hughes has urged his troops to use the passion of the supporters to lift their game.
“I’ve played in quite a few derbies,” explained Hughes. “I always fed off the emotion of the fans and used to really look forward to it - that was part of me.
“Off the field I was quite quiet and introverted but on the field I was a different person and that was a lot to do with my supporters and the opposition supporters. It was part of my make-up.
The Chelsea game has been given added spice by the prospect of John Terry and Rs defender Anton Ferdinand locking horns for the first time since the pair appeared in court last July.
Terry was found not guilty of a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last season and the atmosphere is expected to be hostile.
Hughes thinks all derbies have a natural energy generated by the crowd but has warned fans both sets of fans not to cross the line with their support for each club.
“Every derby is different,” continued the QPR boss. “Obviously the Madrid-Barcelona is a different profile. The energy that is given out by the crowd on derby day is special as long as it doesn’t go over the edge of what’s acceptable then I’m all for it. I think it adds to the occasion.
“You don’t have to explain that Chelsea-Queens Park Rangers is a derby. I used to like big games - the bigger the better from my point of view - but some players were intimidated by that. I enjoyed the experience and the build it. I used to use that as motivation.”