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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sousa Says In Charge at QPR...New Kit Launched Today

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This is London/James Olley - Sousa's the lone Ranger in charge
- Paulo Sousa says he calls the shots at Queens Park Rangers and claims the club are on track for a return to the Premier League.
- Chairman Flavio Briatore was rumoured to have exerted increasing influence over team selection during both Iain Dowie's tenure and Gareth Ainsworth caretaker spell in charge.
- But Sousa, who took charge at Loftus Road in November, quashed talk of the Formula One team boss acting in such a manner on his watch.
- He said: "Each person is different from the other. I am looking to do my job and I do it like I want always. I do always what I want and all the decisions are mine.
- "I met him for the first time when he invited me to talk about QPR, which was one day before I came here.
- "I live for my work, for my players and for my club to try to satisfy everyone because it's the only way I can satisfy myself. I am happy for what has been done until now because we are building a strong base to prepare for the future with more power.
- "I don't know where any pressure would come from
- But that pressure stems from lying 11th in the Championship, with the play-offs virtually out of reach as sixth-placed Cardiff have a seven-point lead and two games in hand.
- As recently as 23 March, Briatore admitted Sousa's future will be decided in May, ominously adding: "The end of the season is the right moment to see which kind of results have arrived and if it's possible to continue with Paulo."
- The club continue to transform at pace - today sees the launch of Rangers' new home kit that will be worn for the first time against Plymouth on 25 April - but the team have struggled so far to match their chairman's ambition.
- Luigi De Canio was given just seven months to impose himself, while Dowie had only 15 games. For his part, the Portuguese remains unmoved, insisting the club are building for a promotion push next season.
- "Time is results - in this profession, you need to have the results to progress and get time," he said. "I am not concerned because I am an optimist for what I would like to do. The goal is to manage in the Premier League because it is the best competition in the world. I don't have any doubt that I am close to achieving this.
- "This season, I cannot use some important players because of injuries. They are the players who made the difference when the board bought them."
- Rowan Vine's year-long absence with a broken leg is set to end with Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace and the approach to his rehabilitation explains a lot about Sousa's patient philosophy at Rangers.
- "It is not an easy return for an important player like him after one year out," he said. "But we start to use him now looking for next season. It's important for him and for us that he is starting to play."
- Sousa, 38, certainly has the playing pedigree to succeed in management, having won the Champions League twice with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund as a defensive midfielder.
- He earned 51 caps for Portugal including a place in their Euro 96 squad. It was that experience - that ended in the quarter-finals - which sowed the seeds of Sousa's desire to take his first managerial step in England.
- "That tournament gives me nice memories," he said. "Everyone was waiting to see Portugal in the final. We impressed because we played good football and people liked that.
- "It was special to do that in the country where football was born. I appreciate that because for a player and manager it is the best thing to be recognised for your football.
- "It is one of the reasons why I wanted to manage in England. Plus, the competition is very strong here and I wanted to test myself. I like important challenges." This is London

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