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Connolly plays down Paulo's Rangers return

PUBLISHED: 15:27 17 March 2010 | UPDATED: 14:57 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky MATTHEW Connolly insists QPR will not be distracted by the presence of former boss Paulo Sousa when they tackle promotion hopefuls Swansea on Saturday. The Portuguese will be back on the Loftus Road touchline for the first time since his cont

By Ben Kosky

MATTHEW Connolly insists QPR will not be distracted by the presence of former boss Paulo Sousa when they tackle promotion hopefuls Swansea on Saturday.

The Portuguese will be back on the Loftus Road touchline for the first time since his controversial dismissal by former Rangers chief Flavio Briatore 11 months ago.

But Connolly, who missed the Rs' 2-0 defeat at Swansea in October due to illness, told the Times: "Paulo's not at QPR now - he's not going to be the talking point.

"I think he's a fantastic coach and he was a great player in his day as well, so he's got bags of experience. He's done very well for Swansea this season and they're right up there.

"They've got some very good individuals and it'll be a tough game. But now we're here with Neil Warnock and Saturday's all about us trying to get three points and get up the table as quickly as possible."

Sousa lasted just five months as QPR boss before the club sacked him for revealing that top scorer Dexter Blackstock had been loaned to Nottingham Forest behind his back.

But Sousa, a double European Cup winner in his playing days, was back in management just weeks later, replacing Roberto Martinez at the Liberty Stadium, and he has guided the unfancied Swans to fourth place in the Championship.

They look virtual certainties for a play-off spot in May - while Rangers are closer to securing Championship status after their recent revival under the new manager.

Connolly added: "We've not been picking up enough points, but everyone's seen how Neil Warnock has got us playing at a high tempo, closing people down and working as a team.

"I think that's what we've lacked in the past more than anything - playing as a team.

"But now everyone's working hard and it's paying off so far. We want to win every game and we've got to concentrate on doing that.

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