QPR manager Hughes defends Barton

Manager Mark Hughes defended Joey Barton after the controversial midfielder was booed off by the home fans during QPR’s win against Liverpool.

Barton’s stock among the Loftus Road faithful has been steadily declining in recent weeks and he was barracked as he was substituted with Rangers trailing and seemingly destined for another defeat.

They fought back after Barton’s withdrawal and his replacement Jamie Mackie netted a dramatic late winner.

“Joey wasn’t having the best of times and a few maybe felt the need to boo him,” said Hughes.

“He’s very strong and it won’t affect him. He’ll play a big part in what we’re trying to do for the rest of the season. Tonight just wasn’t his night.

“Jamie when he comes on always gives you huge energy and I felt we needed that momentum.

“In fairness to Joey he’ll always want the ball and doesn’t hide. It just wasn’t happening for him.”

Hughes also revealed that Armand Traore, who was taken off at half-time, has a hamstring problem which does not look serious and will be assessed on Thursday.

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