Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Sunderland 3 QPR 1

Joey Barton said he was at an all-time low before kick-off after being dropped by Mark Hughes, but you sense Queens Park Rangers could fall even lower after this woeful performance.

It is, of course, all about Joey in Barton World, but it comes to something when the captain of the football club is more interested in winding up opposition fans on the touchline than actually influencing his team’s performance out on the pitch.

Barton’s form has been poor for weeks and as engaging as he is as a personality, QPR need more than a controversial self-publicist, especially for £80,000 a week. The 30 year-old was left out after a particularly bad performance against Liverpool and having watched QPR’s comeback from two down in midweek to win 3-2 from the sidelines, he was left to watch them crumble at Sunderland. Significantly, QPR supporters have been calling for him to be dropped for some time. “Joey has been struggling for form,” said Hughes.

“He accepted my decision with good grace as I would expect him to.” Barton showed notably little grace after the final whistle, taking to Twitter once again to compare the Stadium of Light locals to the cast of the film Deliverance and remarking that there was “nothing I can do sitting on the bench. Obviously disappointed.”

He then claimed to be taking a break from the social networking site for “a few weeks”, which may come as sweet relief to Hughes.

In Barton’s absence, QPR were poor, looking second best even before they were reduced to 10 men, but there is no doubt Djibril Cissé’s second red card in just his fifth appearance helped condemn them to their 17th league defeat of the season.

The Frenchman claimed he was harshly treated, but replays showed he had dived in with two feet on Fraizer Campbell, leaving referee Mike Jones with no option but so show him a straight red. “It was a crazy challenge, but I doubt we would have won the game even if Djibril had stayed on the pitch,” added Hughes. “We weren’t good enough. We didn’t do the right things at key moments.” Cissé’s dismissal came just 11 minutes into the second half and Sunderland were already leading by then after James McClean had put the ball on the head of Nicklas Bendtner and he had guided it beyond the dive of Paddy Kenny.

McClean, 22, was described as “magnificent” by manager Martin O’Neill. His cross to Bendtner was superb, but he also scored the crucial second, finding a way past Kenny after his first shot had been saved.

He even helped create the third for Stéphane Sessègnon, feeding David Vaughan whose cross arrived perfectly for the Benin international to hit first time.

Taye Taiwo pulled one back with a free-kick but this was a rare moment of quality in an otherwise dismal QPR display.

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