London: Mark Hughes's debut as QPR manager ended in disappointment as Leon Best gave Newcastle a 1-0 victory at St James' Park on Sunday.
Hughes was appointed by the struggling Premier League side on Tuesday following Neil Warnock's sacking, but the arrival of the former Fulham, Manchester City, Blackburn and Wales boss failed to galvanise his new team, who remain third bottom of the table.
Best is deputising for Demba Ba, currently away on African Nations Cup duty with Senegal, and he ensured the in-form striker wouldn't be missed with a fine winner in the 37th minute to lift Newcastle into sixth place - four points off the Champions League spots.
"I was pleased with the players' application, they gave me everything they had, obviously we've been done with a little bit of individual skill in our own box," Hughes said.
"We created a number of reasonable chances and on another day those will go in for us.
"It would have been ideal obviously if we could have got something out of the game because overall I felt we deserved something.
"It's a hard place to come, we understand that, it was never going to be easy so that's why I'm encouraged by what I saw."
A miserable run of two points from their last eight matches had left QPR in a fight to avoid the drop and results on Saturday meant Hughes took charge of his first match with the team in the relegation zone.
Hughes - who made six changes to QPR's starting line-up - must have been encouraged when Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jay Bothroyd hit the woodwork early on, while Newcastle lost influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye to injury in the 25th minute.
But Alan Pardew's team took the points thanks to a clinical effort from Best, who cleverly tricked his way past Luke Young before slotting home his first goal since September.