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Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Sousa is new QPR first-team coach

Paulo Sousa
Sousa knows QPR boss Flavio Briatore from his time in Italy

QPR have named former Portugal midfielder Paulo Sousa as their new first-team coach.

Sousa, who was assistant coach of the Portuguese national team, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The 38-year-old played 51 times for his country and had spells with Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus, Inter Milan, Parma and Borussia Dortmund.

Gareth Ainsworth, who had been in caretaker charge at Rangers, will stay on as part of Sousa's backroom team.

Sousa told QPR's website: "It is an honour to be part of this project.

"I have always wanted to work for a big club and I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Queens Park Rangers.

"I have great belief in my ideas and my coaching ability and I firmly believe I can achieve the objectives set by the management.

"I believe in playing positive, attacking football and am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead."

Player/coach Ainsworth was placed at the helm by boss Flavio Briatore following the sacking of Iain Dowie in October.

Dowie was dismissed after refusing to select a team suggested to him by Briatore, who owns the west London club along with fellow Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone.

606: DEBATE

Briatore had a major say in team affairs under Ainsworth, who was initially the frontrunner to land the coach's job on a permanent basis, despite a number of big names being linked with the role.

But the search for an alternative was stepped up following Rangers' home defeat against Burnley on Saturday.

Several British managers are understood to have stayed out of the running for the job because of the R's board's role in team selection and transfers.

Briatore described Sousa's appointment as "very good for this football club".

Briatore added: "He has great experience after working with the Portuguese national team and he is part of the new generation of coach.

"He has worked with some of the world`s best players and we are excited about having him.

"His football career was highly impressive and he has great knowledge of the game. After five years with Portugal, he is ready for a new challenge and I am delighted he has agreed to join us."

Sousa won the Champions League twice as a player, first with Juventus in 1996 and then Dortmund the following year.

He also won the Serie A title with Juventus and represented Portugal at the European Championships in 1996 and 2000.



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