Four points is shameful! Redknapp tells QPR players to show they care about club
00:29 GMT, 27 November 2012
This time last year, Harry Redknapp was managing a team on a run to the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Tottenham’s football was breathtaking, unbeaten in 10 games as Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart tore into the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal.
A year on, a top-four manager who hoped to succeed Fabio Capello as England boss has taken over a team with just four points.
Prove you care: Harry Redknapp is demanding his men improve their performances
Rapid improvement: QPR must get more points on the board if they are to avoid the drop
‘When Daniel Levy sacked me that night (June 13) I didn’t leave and think I’d jump off the edge of Bournemouth cliffs,’ Redknapp said on Monday.
‘The next day I was up playing golf. I don’t hold grudges and I spoke to Daniel over the weekend. He wished me all the best. It’s all a bit bizarre the way things finished for me at Tottenham, but that’s life.
‘When I heard Roy Hodgson had got the England job I wasn’t going to lock myself in a room — it’s only a game. I can get het up because I want to do well but in the cold light of day what does it all mean’
Yesterday it meant everything again as he talked at QPR’s decrepit training base in Harlington, west London, where paint peels off the walls and the big industrial bins in the car park are overloaded with rubbish. It may be a case of taking out the trash in January, just as soon as Redknapp works out who is ready for a relegation scrap.
‘Four points is embarrassing,’ he admitted as he prepares the players for this evening’s Premier League clash at Sunderland. ‘How can you have four points from 13 games
‘Players who aren’t playing will blame those who are playing. Those who are playing will blame somebody else. It’s up to me to make my own decisions over what’s wrong with them and what needs doing.’
Redknapp will run this team with the same enthusiasm that filled the air when he walked into Tottenham’s old training ground. His love of the game is infectious and reassuring; he has promised the grandchildren he would stop at the club shop later to buy them QPR kits before his new team travelled to the Stadium of Light.
‘The family are QPR fans now,’ he said. It could easily have been the colours of Ukraine, after Redknapp was offered the job by the president of the country’s football federation, Anatoliy Konkov, in London last week.
‘It was a great job, a four-year contract, and it wasn’t as if I had to live in Ukraine,’ explained Redknapp. ‘Capello is manager of Russia and he lives in Italy. I could have gone over at weekends, watched some games and then spent a few days at home. I spoke to Andriy Shevchenko about it. The Under 21s are good and I was excited.
That's the way to goal: Harry Redknapp gives his players instructions ahead of their first game
What am I doing here Redknapp has fallen some way from his Spurs days
Need a cuppa: Redknapp supps on a hot beverage during the press conference
‘It wouldn’t have been easy for me to face England in the World Cup qualifiers, but I couldn’t say “Oh it doesn’t matter if we don’t win today” — they would have thrown me down the salt mines.’
But there is no regular contact with players in a national job and there was a twinkle in Redknapp’s eye yesterday as he prepared to take an 11am training session in the wind and rain.
Redknapp has missed the morning commute from his home in Sandbanks, picking up assistant Kevin Bond along the way.
‘I probably needed a break and maybe it didn’t do me any harm,’ he added. ‘I went through a tough year with the court case and maybe leaving Tottenham wasn’t the worst thing. Until last Saturday I hadn’t watched a Premier League game live since I finished at Tottenham. I thought if I turned up people would say, “What’s he doing here, they’ve lost a few games, he’s after my job”. I don’t need that.
‘I used to watch Bournemouth play on
Saturday afternoons and I loved it. But now I’m looking forward to
getting back into the Premier League.’
It starts on Tuesday at Sunderland, his first official game in charge after Mark Hughes was sacked on Friday.
Axed: Mark Hughes was booted out of Loftus Road
QPR are without an away win since November 19, 2011, when two Heidar Helguson goals and a Luke Young strike secured a 3-2 win at Stoke under Neil Warnock.
‘We keep saying we have a good team, but you don’t have four points from 13 games if you are playing well,’ Redknapp said.
‘Apart from going back to Portsmouth, when it looked like we were doomed, this is my biggest challenge yet as a manager. If I’d failed there I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to get out alive. At QPR the challenge is to bring the group together.
‘I want to see players chasing and getting the hump if they see other players standing around.’
Instead, he expects to get them up and running.