Why struggling QPR must sack Redknapp

Why struggling QPR must sack Redknapp
Harry Redknapp.

The end of the road - the Loftus Road - must surely be coming soon for Harry Redknapp.

Queens Park Rangers' disastrous start to the season took a new, depressing twist this week when the English Premier League side were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Burton Albion, losing 0-1 in a second- round tie.

That followed league defeats to Hull City and Tottenham Hotspur, which left the Malaysian-owned club bottom of the Premiership table with a minus-five goal difference.

QPR have not scored in all competitions this new season.

Owner Tony Fernandes made a mistake of taking too long to act after QPR's winless start to the 2012-13 campaign, sacking Mark Hughes only at the end of November. He had garnered just four points from a possible 48, with eight league defeats, to sit at the foot of the table.

Ironically, it was Redknapp who took over from Hughes, generating an air of optimism around west London, given his relative success at Tottenham over the previous four seasons.

He initially improved things with some encouraging results into the New Year but was unable to keep them in the top flight.

Time has now run out for Redknapp, 67, and he needs to be shown the door. That way, a new man - ideally a manager familiar with rescue missions like Tony Pulis - can be given a chance to turn a flailing side around.

Redknapp has had an excellent managerial career and did well to bring the R's back into the Premier League at his first attempt.

But, clearly, he is now struggling to get the best out of his squad. And, given the number of fading veterans who have yet to justify their generous wages, he is making some of the same mistakes as his predecessor.

Against Spurs, where Redknapp described his team as "playing like strangers", his 3-5-2 system - with Rio Ferdinand, 35, and Richard Dunne, 34, as two of the back three - was repeatedly exposed. Redknapp blamed a lack of energy from his players, rather than any tactical mistake, on the formation's failure.

Joey Barton, a former England international, turns 32 next week and now looks horribly out of his depth at this level. As outstanding as he was last season in the Championship, he clearly has seen better days in the heart of QPR's engine room.

Redknapp made nine changes for the Cup tie at Burton Albion and the performance was worse. Adel Taarabt huffed and puffed without reward as the Moroccan made his first appearance in 16 months after loan spells at Fulham and AC Milan.

Shaun Wright-Phillips, too, was disappointing after he was given a rare start. Remember, this is a man who was part of England's 2010 World Cup squad, earning 36 caps for his country and lighting up stadiums around the world with his pace and dribbling skills.

Yet, since signing with QPR three years ago, he has scored just once in 63 league matches.

The reality is that the likes of Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand, Barton and Dunne are not going to keep Rangers in the Premier League, just as Park Ji Sung, Jose Bosingwa and Christopher Samba could not prevent relegation two years ago.

No doubt Redknapp will be looking to bring in more seasoned campaigners before the transfer window closes on Monday.

But how much of a difference will they make?

Redknapp has had more successes than failures in his 30-year managerial career.

But it does seem that he has run out of ideas and enthusiasm.

QPR owner Fernandes needs to make a big decision sooner rather than later. A tough-love approach from a manager in the mould of Pulis, with a younger, workmanlike team, is what's needed now at QPR - not a bunch of "strangers" clearly past their prime.

stsports@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 29, 2014.
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