Thursday 18 January 2018

Redknapp points way to QPR's escape route

Tottenham 0

Dion Fanning

Harry Redknapp was in a hurry when he walked into the press room at Loftus Road yesterday. His side had been "fantastic" he said in taking a point and preventing his old club Tottenham Hotspur from scoring, the first time they had failed to do so away from home in the league this season.

Redknapp had work to do and a flight to catch. Last night he was in France watching Rennes play Bordeaux as he attempts to bring Yann M'Vila to Loftus Road.

QPR might be in a position where they need wins, but there had been encouraging signs in the performance. Redknapp may not have made a substitution yesterday, but he wants to add to his squad. He said Jake Livermore would be coming on loan from Tottenham but Andre Villas-Boas refused to confirm it, while QPR remain interested in Peter Odemwingie. Redknapp wants more. Anybody who thought there was enough quality in the squad was in for a "rude awakening".

QPR fans might have agreed with Redknapp's assessment of the performance, but nobody was claiming it was an exciting game. Redknapp didn't want one.

"I played Liverpool here, we played 4-4-2 and got ripped to pieces. We had to be difficult to beat. It's a great point. You'd take a point. They're a top, top team, they've got as good a team as any in the Premier League. You have to play with the hand that you've got. If we'd gone out to rip Tottenham to pieces, we might have been three or four down at half-time."

Instead, QPR were determined that there would be no ripping to pieces. Stephane M'bia did everything expected of a midfielder if you don't expect them to pass and create. He smothered Mousa Dembele and when Sandro went off with an injury after 25 minutes, Spurs became anaemic.

Once Emmanuel Adebayor had failed to finish after Jermain Defoe's shot was tipped on to the post by the authoritative Julio Cesar in the first five minute, QPR were never as troubled again.

Adel Taarabt may be an infuriating player but he worked hard yesterday, almost as hard as Jamie Mackie. Taarabt's style was captured in one second-half moment. He shimmied on the right touchline to find space and was free. In a second, he was in the box and QPR had an opportunity. Almost as quickly, however, he was back on the same touchline having decided he didn't like what he saw. One of Taarabt's gifts is his ability to make a devastating pass; one of his weaknesses is his refusal to do anything if the devastating isn't an option.

Yet he relieved pressure most of the time and if Shaun Wright-Phillips was a finisher, QPR might have taken three points. Wright-Phillips had the best chances for the home side, hesitating in the first half when through on goal, stumbling at the exact worst moment in the second and just failing to reach one of Taarabt's devastating passes.

Spurs created few chances and when they did, Cesar smothered them. "It was difficult, obviously we wanted to win," Andre Villas-Boas said. "Our away form has been excellent and we are always comfortable away from home."

QPR wouldn't make them comfortable. Having beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Redknapp's side knew what to do. The four points picked up from those two fixtures will obviously be important in the relegation fight, but they have offered the players a map out of trouble.

In his familiar style, AVB stressed how important the games to come are. "Both of us are still halfway through the season. Both teams want to reach their objective – QPR with salvation and us with Champions League qualification."

Redknapp and AVB had congratulated each other at the end, with Redknapp again stressing that he had no issues with his successor.

"What is the problem? He seems a nice man, I don't know him. I've never had a problem with him."

Harry had other problems yesterday, but after the point gained, his main one was catching a plane.

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