Mark Hughes left Craven Cottage last June, in his own phrase, to move on and further his experiences. Presumably, that did not include experiencing defeat by his former club Fulham at Loftus Road and amassing a distinctly average record of one win in six Premier League matches since succeeding Neil Warnock as manager of Queens Park Rangers six weeks ago.
Further ignominy was heaped on Hughes by losing to the division's worst away side, Fulham having previously won once on their travels this season – at Wigan Athletic in October. The QPR manager will not have been pleased, either, with the 33rd-minute loss of Samba Diakité, the midfield debutant who was sent off for two poor tackles on Bryan Ruiz. And the woe kept on coming for Hughes, who appeared to brush aside Martin Jol, his successor at Craven Cottage, after a mediocre match.
Hughes left QPR's west London rivals acrimoniously, with chairman Mohamed Al Fayed labelling him "a flop", and the managers have since clashed via reported tit-for-tat comments in the media.
"I offered my hand and he [Jol] shook it," Hughes said. "I congratulated him for a good performance by his team. I maybe took exception because I thought he was going to tap me on the head, which I deemed to be slightly patronising. So I just brushed his arm away, that's all. It's no big deal."
Jol said: "We shook hands. Maybe I made it a bit too personal. I tried to grab his shoulder and he didn't like it because he's a tough guy. He's a winner, he wants to win. Maybe he just doesn't like me."
QPR were little short of a shambles in the first half, well before the dismissal of Diakité – on loan from Nancy – for a second wild challenge on Ruiz that earned him his second yellow card.
It was QPR's fifth dismissal of the season, all of which had been at home, and their second in three matches. "We do need to keep our full complement on the pitch," Hughes said.
QPR had been struggling with 11 players as it was and Pavel Pogrebnyak had already scored his second goal in as many games for Fulham since signing on a short-term loan from VfB Stuttgart. The Russia striker collected a flick from Ruiz, coolly sidestepped the onrushing Paddy Kenny and slotted home.
Bobby Zamora, the QPR and former Fulham striker, was largely anonymous and although Jamie Mackie and Shaun Wright-Phillips missed excellent chances to equalise, it was an all-round experience that Hughes clearly would rather not have had to endure.