Luigi De Canio told the Daily Mail of his determination to forge closer links with Chelsea in his quest to guide Queens Park Rangers back into the Premier League.

In his first interview since taking over at Loftus Road, the Italian said that a strong relationship with the FA Cup holders was a vital part of his strategy to revive his club's fortunes.

The move is, however, a controversial one and risks antagonising some Rangers fans who are unsettled at the friendly rapport which exists with their historic west London rivals.

Chelsea trio Ben Sahar, Michael Mancienne and Scott Sinclair are all on loan at Rangers, while another Blues youngster, Jimmy Smith, spent much of the last season in Shepherds Bush.

He said: "We need Chelsea, and they need us. We can guarantee a serious, professional environment for Chelsea's young players, who know that if they come here, they will improve and they will grow as players.

"I have had a good impression of the Chelsea players who are here, as I have had of all of the squad. I noticed a real willingness on the part of the players to work hard and to follow our methods, so I am very happy."