Stoke manager Hughes credits QPR fans

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes had no problem with the cold reception he received on his first return to QPR on Saturday.

Hughes returned to Loftus Road for the first time since his ill-fated 10-month spell in charge of QPR on Saturday, and saw Niko Kranjcar deny him all three points as the Croatian's superb late free-kick earned the hosts a 2-2 draw.

The Welshman described his QPR reign as the "toughest time" of his managerial career in the build-up to the match, and expected a hostile welcome from the home fans.

However, Hughes was subjected to little more than sporadic and subdued booing at the beginning of the game - and he praised QPR's supporters for focusing on their own side, as opposed to him.

"I expected a little bit of stick and that's understandable, but credit to the Rangers fans - they made their feelings known and then got on with supporting their team like they should do," the Welshman said.

"It wasn't a problem."

Hughes looked set to enjoy a fruitful return to Loftus Road when another former Rangers employee, striker Peter Crouch, put his side ahead early in the second half after Steven Caulker had levelled Mame Biram Diouf's early opener on the stroke of half-time.

But Kranjcar's stunning 88th-minute intervention ensured Harry Redknapp's team escaped with a share of the spoils - an outcome that left Hughes frustrated.

"Disappointment is the overriding emotion," he added.

"I think with the chances we created we were clearly the better team on the day, but you need to manage the game and that's the message we need to learn from.

"We were disappointed to go in [at half-time] at 1-1, but we came out and scored another very, very good goal - it was a great strike from Peter Crouch, who I thought was excellent on the day - and really, we should have had enough about us to see out the game comfortably.

"QPR looked like a team who were beaten, but we've unfortunately encouraged them somewhat and they've got a free-kick and when you give someone of that ability [Kranjcar] a chance there's a danger he may have the ability to score and that's what happened.

"All in all we're reasonably pleased with a point. We're unbeaten on our travels and we've gone to difficult places but today was a missed opportunity."