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AARON Hughes admitted Tuesday evening’s defeat at Sheffield Wednesday was a “difficult night” for the R’s as their hopes of automatic promotion were dealt a huge blow.

The 3-0 loss sees Rangers sit ten points adrift of second-placed Burnley with 10 games remaining, and the experienced defender said: “We were all disappointed in the dressing room afterwards. It’s a game we felt we could go and win, and we started on the front foot. 

“I thought we were controlling the game until the sending off.”

Richard Dunne was dismissed on 33 minutes for bringing Leon Best down in the area, with the resultant spot-kick dispatched by Chris Maguire.

Harry Redknapp said afterwards it was a game-changing moment that the R’s were unable to recover from. And Hughes agrees.

“It was a difficult night,” he added. “The red card and penalty changed the match. Before that we had good possession, and created a few half-chances like (Clint) Hilly’s header across the face of their goal and a couple of others.

“After the red card we tried to hang on until half-time and in the second half the plan was to try and stay in the game, but they got another goal soon after the break, and it was really uphill after that.”

With the play-offs seemingly the focus now for QPR, Hughes says it is vital the R’s put a run of results together.

“What’s important now is that we cement our place in the top six,” he said. “We will go into every game trying to get maximum points, keep pushing and see where it takes us.

“We have to stay positive and keep going. We can’t do anything about the Sheffield Wednesday result now, it’s gone. 

“Against Birmingham, Brighton and Yeovil we put in good performances. What we can’t do is let our whole season go because of one performance. We have to stay positive and fight to the very end.”

Hughes also reserved special praise for the 260 R’s fans who made the long trip north for the mid-week fixture.

“They follow us wherever we go and deserve huge credit for making the journey up to support us,” he added. “We are all gutted we couldn’t get them the three points.”