Mark Hughes backs scrapping of handshakes in QPR"s clash with Chelsea

Scrapping handshakes was the right thing to do, says Hughes as more QPR players were set to snub Terry

Mark Hughes admitted the pre-match handshake between QPR and Chelsea before Saturday's FA Cup clash may have been cancelled because more than one of his players were considering snubbing John Terry.

The Football Association gave the clubs permission not to undertake the usual handshake routine prior to the fourth-round tie at Loftus Road.

That spared Anton Ferdinand having to shake the hand of Chelsea captain Terry, who has been charged with racially abusing his fellow defender and faces a court case that begins on Wednesday.

No shake: There was no pre-match handshake between the two teams

No shake: There was no pre-match handshake between the two teams

Ferdinand was reportedly agonising over whether to ignore Terry – who denies the allegation against him – ahead of what was their first meeting since their altercation during October's Barclays Premier League game.

Rangers boss Hughes revealed he held a meeting with his players last night at which some of them suggested they would be prepared to join Ferdinand in snubbing Terry.

'There could well have been an issue but players make their own decisions,' Hughes said.

'I said Anton was the guy who had to make his own decisions for himself about whether or not he shook John Terry's hand.

Captain's shake: John Terry and QPR skipper Joey Barton shake hands before the game

Captain's shake: John Terry and QPR skipper Joey Barton shake hands before the game

'With the group I have got I know they wanted to support their team-mate and the situation in the end was to take it out of the equation and not to have the issue.'

He added: 'There were discussions this morning as well and Chelsea had their views and basically we all came to the same decision.'

Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas knew nothing of suggestions more than one QPR player would snub Terry and revealed he only learnt there would be no handshakes 45 minutes before kick-off.

But despite insisting it was 'extremely important' Ferdinand and Terry shook hands, Villas-Boas said: 'It was a wise decision bearing in mind the expectancy that was aroused from the fact that a couple of events could happen in that handshake.

Scrapping of tradition: The FA prevented the shaking of hands before the game

Scrapping of tradition: The FA prevented the shaking of hands before the game

'It was wise not to do it because it could have an impact on crowd behaviour.'

And Hughes confirmed that Ferdinand recieved a bullet-like item in the post in the lead up to the game.

Scotland Yard said on Friday they had launched an investigation after the Barclays Premier League club notified them of a package sent to Loftus Road.

Police would only confirm that an alleged “malicious communication” was sent, but there were widespread reports that the package contained a bullet.

Both the club and police refused to reveal what the item was, although R's manager Hughes said he has seen it.

Hostile atmosphere: John Terry was booed and jeered during the game by the home fans

Hostile atmosphere: John Terry was booed and jeered during the game by the home fans

'He was sent a letter with some bullet,' he said after the FA Cup fourth-round tie that Chelsea won 1-0.

'I wouldn't call it a bullet, I think a pellet or something like that.
'Obviously we gave it straight to the police and let them deal with it and we took direction from them.'

Asked what the letter said, Hughes added: 'I won't divulge that.

'I think that issue was discussed at great length and it was right to be concerned about the contents of the letter.

'Obviously I had an opportunity to read it and it was not particularly nice, as I am sure you can imagine.'

High security: Police officers make there way past the Loftus Road before the game

High security: Police officers make there way past the Loftus Road before the game

The package was received on the eve of QPR's FA Cup clash with west London rivals Chelsea, where fans underwent full searches before entering Loftus Road.

Stewards were seen using handheld metal detectors, with some donning protective goggles, while there was a heavier than usual police presence.
The added security around the match seemingly paid off, with Scotland Yard confirming there were no arrests.

It was the first time the two sides had met since Chelsea captain John Terry was charged with racially abusing Ferdinand during October's Premier League game between the two clubs.

Terry has since been charged with racially abusing the QPR defender and is expected to enter a not guilty plea at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, having strenuously denied the charge against him.

On high alert: Both sets of fans at the QPR and Chelsea game were searched ahead of the game

On high alert: Both sets of fans at the QPR and Chelsea game were searched ahead of the game

Full search: Security staff used metal scanners on fans

Full search: Security staff used metal scanners on fans

And although the pre-match handshakes were scrapped for this game, the issue is likely to arise again when the sides meet at Stamford Bridge in the league in April.

Hughes called for the entire ritual to be dropped, saying: “I think they are an irritation. I don't know where they have come from, who dreamt it up, why people think it it vitally important that teams do this.

'There is nothing wrong with what happened in the good old days when I played and you ran out and played a game of football, which happened today.'

Villas-Boas disagreed, saying of today's abandonment: “I think it was decision for the moment.'

Both managers praised their respective players for their performances today, with neither Terry nor Ferdinand putting a foot wrong.

Not a fan: Mark Hughes would like to see all pre-match hand shakes scrapped

Not a fan: Mark Hughes would like to see all pre-match hand shakes scrapped

Villas-Boas said: “Individually from John, it was an excellent performance, very, very focused, managed to get the off-the-field events out of his mind and concentrate on his job.'

Hughes added of Ferdinand, who allegedly received a 'pellet' through the post this week: 'It was difficult for him as the focus seemed to all be on Anton, which is understandable given what has happened in the last 48 hours.'

Terry was mercilessly jeered and abusively taunted but Hughes did not feel this acted as motivation for the defender.

'John is a big figure in the game and I am sure he gets booed at every away game,' he said.

'I think he plays the same way and rarely have I seen anything created by headlines effect John Terry, which was the same today.

'For him to come through that, I think shows great credit.

Spot on: Juan Mata scores the only goal of the game

Spot on: Juan Mata scores the only goal of the game

This is the Juan: Mata celebrates his goal in front of the Chelsea fans

This is the Juan: Mata celebrates his goal in front of the Chelsea fans

'He was of the mind he was going to play today and he put in a great performance.'

Chelsea's fans refrained from the infamous “Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are” chant, but a QPR supporter could be in trouble after a steward alerted referee Mike Dean's attention to the match ball being thrown from the crowd and hitting the back of Ashley Cole.

Dean had a good game but arguably made a mistake awarding the penalty which handed Chelsea their 1-0 win after adjudging Clint Hill to have pushed over Daniel Sturridge.

Hughes said: 'I think Mike Dean will be a little disappointed when he sees what decision he has given.

'I just felt Daniel Sturridge went down a little bit easily.'

Villas-Boas, whose side lost 1-0 at Loftus Road in October to a soft penalty, said: 'It's very similar to David Luiz and (Heidar) Helguson here and nobody seemed to criticise anything.

'We finished the game for the league here with nine men and (were) maybe treated unfairly.

'Maybe QPR this time got treated unfairly.'

Chelsea lost Ramires to a medial ligament injury that could rule out the midfielder for a month, while Helguson suffered a groin problem that looks set to keep him out of QPR's game at Aston Villa on Wednesday.