Friday 24 November 2017

Redknapp's pain is Aston Villa's gain

ASTON VILLA 3 QPR 2 Simon Hart

The sight of Queens Park Rangers' players slumped on the Villa Park turf at the end gave this result the feel of a pivotal moment in the relegation fight.

Rangers ended the weekend seven points behind 17th-placed Villa and needing to surpass the escape act that Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth managed seven seasons ago.

At this stage in 2006, Portsmouth had 24 points to QPR's 23 and Redknapp admitted that his task at Loftus Road was "probably tougher". However, Rangers' performance in Saturday's see-saw contest gave him hope, despite the need for "four or five wins" from a side with just four so far this season.

QPR's next match is at Fulham on April 1 – a month that also brings home fixtures against Wigan and Stoke and trips to Everton and Reading.

Rangers' pain was Villa's gain on an afternoon which suggested Paul Lambert's faith in his inexperienced players is finally paying off.

Lambert spoke afterwards of the difficulty of "trying to build something plus get results" and they owed this result to two players in particular.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, first choice this season ahead of Shay Given, made three world-class saves in the first half before forward Andreas Weimann inspired Villa to victory in the second.

The 21-year-old Austrian, a peripheral figure under Alex McLeish, scored one goal and set up another, and Lambert said: "I don't think he was a regular in the side, but he has been given a chance and he's playing exceptionally well.

"Whether Andi plays off the line or through the middle, he seems to score but the biggest compliment I can give him is he is a brilliant guy and gives you everything he's got."

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport