Sunderland 0 QPR 0: Redknapp can't earn win from first game at helm of Rangers
02:09 GMT, 28 November 2012
The peace and quiet of those cliffs at Bournemouth may seem very inviting to Harry Redknapp this morning.
This was his return to management and to the Barclays Premier League, his first game as the new manager of Queens Park Rangers, but these were 90 minutes that would make a lot of folk turn away.
Nil-nil, nothing-nothing, nowt-nowt; however it is put, it was dreadful.
Top stop: Rob Green made a wonderful save in an otherwise drab affair
Resolute: Rob Green prevents Steven Fletcher from prodding a shot home
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Cuellar, Rose, Cattermole (Colback 6), Larsson, Gardner (Saha 78), Johnson (McClean 70), Sessegnon, Fletcher,
Subs not used: Westwood, Bramble, Vaughan, Campbell
QPR: Julio Cesar (Green 46), Traore, Hill, Nelsen, Bosingwa, Diakite (Park Ji-sung 65), Taarabt (Wright-Phillips 77), Granero, M'bia, Cisse, Mackie
Subs not used: Ferdinand, Fabio, Derry, Hoilett
Booked: Diakite, Hill, Mackie
Referee: Andre Marriner
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS
But then, even the most dramatic acts
of escapology sometimes start with the undoing of a tough knot and what
Redknapp could take from a wet night on Wearside was a first clean
sheet and a first point.
It's a start. Arresting a run of
three defeats is one thing, and Redknapp said he was more 'optimistic'
than he had been while watching QPR lose 3-1 at Old Trafford last
But there is still no win after 14
attempts and though a point was welcome, Aston Villa's three at home to
Reading meant Rangers' situation at the foot of the table has actually
Seven points off safety at kick-off has become eight. Villa visit Loftus Road on Saturday.
That has the makings of a crunch game
but from here on in they will all be until QPR reach some kind of safe
ground. Yet Redknapp's reaction was understandable.
He only arrived at the training ground on Sunday, the morning after another loss, and amid tales of a fractured dressing room.
Welcome back: Harry Redknapp was on the touchline for the first time for Queens Park Rangers
Hungry, Joe Harry Redknapp was joined by Joe Jordan (left) on the bench
Enjoying it Redknapp looked less than amused as he watched his side draw 0-0 at the Stadium of Light
Last Friday morning Mark Hughes was
still the manager. If at times QPR were careless here, they never looked
concerned to the point of vulnerability against a Sunderland team who
are struggling as much as the Hoops to find some rhythm.
Martin O'Neill has a real puzzle on
his hands after a result that left Sunderland's run in the league at
four wins in the last 27.
The home side are bereft of momentum
and if one of Redknapp's messages to his new charges is that Sunderland
can be caught, then you could not accuse him of false encouragement.
Sunderland created two clear chances,
both for Steven Fletcher. The first came after 41 minutes, when Adam
Johnson supplied a neat pass, but Julio Cesar made a smart block.
That was to be Cesar's first and last
real action of the game. Redknapp said the Brazilian had torn a muscle
in his groin and that led to the most eyebrow-raising moment of the
night, when Rob Green appeared on the touchline to be introduced as a
Flair player: Adel Taarabt was reunited with former Spurs boss Radknapp
Green was marginalised by Cesar's
unanticipated arrival in the August window but will now be expected to
step up and reclaim his reputation as well as his place.
Given the scrutiny Green attracts
post-England, he will have been delighted that when Fletcher met a Seb
Larsson corner at pace and with power, he was sufficiently sharp to get
down to his left and first get a firm hand on the ball and then a
Other than that – and a kick in the
face from Fletcher – Green was untroubled. Admittedly Sunderland lost
their captain and driving force Lee Cattermole after only six minutes,
but Sunderland were too slow when they won the ball and the visitors
were able to funnel back.
This QPR did diligently. When he had
described Rangers' record of four points from 13 games as 'embarrassing'
on Monday, Redknapp had added that he wanted his players to at least
show willing in their first game under him.
'Run about,' as he put it. It is minimum requirement stuff but necessary in a team with wilted confidence.
The new manager made three changes to
the XI that lost at Manchester United, stiffening midfield with Samba
Diakite, who impressed the new manager.
How he thinks of Adel Taarabt is
another matter. The Moroccan was sold to QPR when Redknapp was Spurs
manager but the gifted but erratic attacker was selected on the left of
In the first half that meant Taarabt
was close to where Redknapp stood in his new club raincoat. High up in
the stands 375 (now that is embarrassing) travelling fans chanted his
name; beside him in the dugout sat Joe Jordan.
Drab: Simon Mignolet checks the turf during the match
Tricky: Danny Rose surges forward with the ball
First there was the usual scrum of
photographers. Taarabt produced a few early tricks but in the 20th
minute could be seen tracking back to rob Fletcher.
That is the attitude expected – by Hughes as well as Redknapp – and Taarabt was trying at the other end, too.
It was his 38th-minute pass which
teed up Jamie Mackie. The Scot was clean through on Simon Mignolet but
the goalkeeper blocked.
The rebound fell to Taarabt, who
shaped to pick his spot, but just as Redknapp was ready to jump for joy,
Phil Bardsley booted the ball clear. The conditions were worsening,
though the pitch held up despite the torrential rain.
But the quality of fare did not
blossom. Taarabt finally gave way on 77 minutes, replaced by Shaun
Wright- Phillips. Three minutes later and Wright-Phillips was in the
Sunderland box drilling in a low shot.
Mignolet got behind it. Before and
after that there was simply not enough creativity. The focus was all on
QPR last night and will remain so until they start winning.
But there are questions to be asked
of Sunderland, too. It's early to mention this but last season 37 points
were needed to stay up.
Meeting and greeting: Redknapp signed autographs before kick-off
Collision: Rose and Jamie Mackie (right) go for the ball
Turnaround: Redknapp will be hoping to improve on QPR's poor form
STADIUM OF LIGHT MATCH ZONE
CATTERMOLE RETURNS TOO SOON
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill took a gamble on the fitness of captain Lee Cattermole in a bid to inspire a side desperately in need of leadership.
But the midfielder, who is nursing severe bruising in a bone in his right leg, lasted just six minutes before he sat on the ground and waved his arms to the physios and admitted defeat.
His replacement was Jack Colback, dropped for the first time this season by O'Neill.
IT'S SIMPLE, SIMON IS SORRY
Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet felt obliged to apologise to team-mates and fans after his rare howler in Saturday's defeat by West Bromwich led to Shane Long's goal giving the visitors a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Belgium No 1 still received a notably warm welcome from home supporters before last night's kick-off. He duly proved his worth with a superb stop to deny Jamie Mackie.
BOWEN AND NIEDZWIECKI NEXT TO GO
Mark Hughes's trusted aides Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki are poised to follow the axed manager out of Loftus Road. The coaching duo were not on the bench last night.
The QPR hierarchy had explored the notion of keeping either of the pair in Redknapp's new backroom team but they are now in dialogue over severance packages and will be replaced by Redknapp lieutenants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan.
CISSE BACK IN FASHION ON WEARSIDE
They hardly set the world alight during their time on Wearside but Rangers pair Djibril Cisse and Anton Ferdinand both got a warm welcome from Sunderland supporters.
Flamboyant striker Cisse, who opened an exclusive clothes shop in Newcastle during his brief stay, almost took the lead for the visitors with a shot from the edge of the area.
Ferdinand, meanwhile, watched the game from the bench – a situation he may have to get used to.
O'NEILL TURNS GROUNDSMAN
Few areas have been as badly hit by the rainstorms as the North East.
So concerned was Martin O'Neill by the prospect of the game falling to the adverse weather that he visited the Stadium of Light on Monday morning to see the pitch for himself.
His presence among the groundsmen – whom he exonerated – followed the postponement of Sunderland's first home game against Reading, now to be replayed on Tuesday, December 11.
VIDEO: SUNDERLAND 0 QPR 0: MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
.epl_container,.epl_top_container, .spon_left, .spon_right, .epl_cleardisplay:block;margin:0px;padding:0px;min-height:0px;font-size:0px;border:0px;white-space:nowrap;
.epl_top_containerbackground:#F9F9F9 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/bkg.jpg) repeat-x scroll top;
.spon_leftwidth:140px;float:left;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/ylogo.jpg) no-repeat;
.spon_rightwidth:160px;float:right;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/right.jpg) no-repeat;