QPR manager Harry Redknapp courts Yann M'Vila in bid to avoid relegation battle
HARRY Redknapp admits that his "whole life is consumed by saving QPR".
Redknapp immediately flew to France after Saturday’s draw with Tottenham, assessing Yann M’Vila for Rennes in their defeat by Bordeaux. Redknapp will be at training at Harlington on Monday before hurtling up to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday morning for their FA Cup replay.
Redknapp’s pre-match chat with Steve Clarke should be interesting after the West Brom manager rebuffed his inquiry about Peter Odemwingie. Redknapp is working overtime to find the right recruits while also building from the current squad. Bobby Zamora is “not too far away” returning from injury, according to the manager.
“I haven’t been home too much lately,’’ Redknapp said. “It’s difficult but you have to try. I could sit back and say, ‘It’s not my problem, unlucky’. My whole life is consumed by saving QPR. I don’t sleep every night, my mind’s non-stop. It’s a buzz.’’
He has had to temper old attacking traits, focusing on grinding out results such as Saturday’s against his old side with mass defending.
“I’ve had teams in the last few years who have great attacking flair. I haven’t got Lennon, Adebayor or Defoe, so I have to make the best out of what we have got and be hard to beat. Against Liverpool, I played [Djibril] Cissé up front with [Adel] Taarabt with two wingers and got destroyed. We are not good enough to play that way, unfortunately.’’
“Old heads such as Shaun Derry and Clint Hill have been vital. “They get written off,’’ Redknapp continued. “People say, ‘They are only Championship players’ but they are giving it everything and I can’t ask for any more. And they are good around the place? [Jamie] Mackie’s effort: he isn’t Gareth Bale, but does he try? He gives everything.
“They are good lads, not earning big money, but you can rely on them. There’s no big-headedness, or big-time Charlie with them. They care for the club.”
Another is Ryan Nelsen. “What a competitor. I took him to Spurs last year and people said, ‘Are you mad?’. I said, ‘He’s one of the best centre-halves we have had in the Premier League and one of the best characters.’ He has come here and been fantastic. You can see why someone wants to want to take him to Toronto and make him [manager]. Hopefully we will keep him for another month or six to seven weeks.”
As well as Nelsen and Hill defensively, QPR were indebted to Julio Cesar for some fine reflex saves, first to deny Jermain Defoe and then Emmanuel Adebayor. Like Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas was considering a move for a forward and he has been linked with Internacional’s Leandro Damiao, with Adebayor heading to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“Ade doesn’t miss lots of fixtures so we should be OK, but it’s something to be cautious of,’’ the Spurs manager said. “We still have time if we want to move in the market, although it’s very unlikely we’ll do anything. We are aware of the situation. It’s not impossible. But we had great success with Defoe and Clint [Dempsey] up front.’’
Villas-Boas, who is hopeful that Sandro’s knee injury is not serious, was delighted to see Scott Parker’s strong performance as the Brazilian’s replacement. “Last season I thought about him,’’ the former Chelsea manager said. “In the end I opted for Oriol [Romeu] but I spoke with Scotty to come back to Chelsea.
“He’s an important player, an English international and a great professional and somebody of great ability. He can always give you an extra edge on the pitch with his leadership. He’s still at the peak of his game. He’s one of the players Roy [Hodgson] counts a lot on. He’ll definitely be involved in the February internationals.”
Parker was focused on ensuring that Spurs avoid repeating the slide they suffered in the second half of last season. “That is in everyone’s minds because it’s happened before. Maybe what happened will stand us in good stead.’’
He believes Redknapp will revive QPR. “I think the world of Harry,’’ Parker said. “He can have as big an impact as anyone.’’
Henry Winter, Telegraph.co.uk