QPR's Ferdinand will not be shaken by crowd abuse as he prepares to face Chelsea
14:59 GMT, 27 April 2012
QPR defender Anton Ferdinand will be unmoved by any Chelsea fans who abuse him from the stands as the two sides meet in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
The game will be Ferdinand's first at Stamford Bridge since accusations he suffered racial abuse from Chelsea skipper John Terry last October, who now faces a court case in July to answer those allegations. Terry denies the charges.
Ferdinand, 27, said he was more interested in securing a positive result as QPR look to remain in the top flight, rather than listen to any jeers from the home crowd.
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'There is a big rivalry between the two clubs anyway but, with everything that has happened, I know there will be some fans targeting me,' he told London Evening Standard Sport.
'The Chelsea fans believe what they want to believe. They have their own view on what's gone on and if they are going to give me stick, that's their problem.
'All I can say is that it won't upset my game. If they think that's what's going to happen, then they have got another thing coming.'
The Football Association cancelled the usual pre-match handshakes before the two sides met in the FA Cup back in January and the Premier League have taken the same measures ahead of Sunday afternoon's clash but Ferdinand does not see the pre-match ritual as an essential part of football and will treat the match the same as any other.
Row: Ferdinand and John Terry during the team's October meeting
'My view is whether you shake hands with a player before or after the game doesn't really matter to me. It is about playing football,' he said.
'My team-mates have said nothing to me about it because we are just treating it as a normal game. It is not about me or the current situation, it is about QPR and staying in the division.
'It is not for me to talk endlessly about handshakes – what matters is what happens in the course of 90 minutes.'
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said Chelsea 'respected' the Premier League decision to scrap the handshakes on Sunday.
But he was against abandoning the ritual altogether, adding: 'To show respect to your opposition is a good thing, so I'm not generally against it.'
Di Matteo revealed he would remind his players of their responsibilities ahead of a derby match that was mired in controversy in October's reverse fixture.
He said: 'I always speak to my players. They will be focused on Sunday to try to win the game. The rest is for other people to worry about.
'We have to channel our energies to win the football match – that's all.'
Di Matteo had no concerns about the state of mind of Terry, who was sent off in Chelsea's Champions League semi-final triumph in Barcelona, ruling him out of the final.
'I don't think that's going to influence him,' Di Matteo said.
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'He's got a few years under his belt now and has dealt with setbacks before. He'll be very good.'
QPR manager Mark Hughes was pleased that the game would not become lost amongst the handshake debate following the decision to cancel the pre-match routine.
He insisted his team had not even thought about the potential storm that could have been caused with players refusing to shake hands and is more focused on beating QPR's local rivals and boosting their Premier League survival hopes.
He said: 'The decision was made last night and it takes all the build-up before the game out of the equation, I think that is what we were conscious of before the (FA) cup game.
'The game itself was a little bit of a damp squib because of what occurred before the actual game with the discussions and debate about who is going to shake who else's hand so the game itself was like a side issue. I don't think that is correct and I'm glad the decision is out of the way now.
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'Our focus was always on the game anyway and the decision came through last night, it was my intention to mention it briefly this morning but I didn't have to because up to this point we haven't discussed it at any length because it hasn't been on our radar or been our focus this week.'
Hughes also revealed Ferdinand had been instructed by his lawyers he would not have been allowed to take part in the handshakes even if they had remained as part of the build-up to the match.
'We knew that Anton had been told that he wouldn't be allowed to shake hands so we understood that part of it and obviously discussions between ourselves, Chelsea and the Premier League were ongoing but I think they have come up wit the right decision,' he said.
'From our point of view we have just been focussing on preparing for a very important game and the wind has been taken out of people's sails regarding the handshake issue.'