Things are looking up for Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers after win over Burnley
QPR 2 Burnley 0
LONDON // There are very few managers who divide opinion like Harry Redknapp. To some, he is the last of the old-school English managers, the archetype of a football man, somebody who doesn’t overcomplicate the game, who has been around the block and has the anecdotes to prove it.
To others, he is a tactical naïf, who has made a career from sharp dealing in the transfer market and his capacity to charm. There is, of course, some truth in both points of view, but what is clearly the case is that, however incapable he is of setting up a team to defend, he does have a capacity to inspire sides.
Queens Park Rangers began the season as though doomed. They had been extremely fortunate to be promoted, scraping through the play-off final against Derby County, and they played as though they knew it.
In 4-0 losses at Tottenham and Manchester United, they were dreadful. Slowly, though, as the experiment with a back three was abandoned and Redknapp returned to a conventional 4-4-2, their form has improved.
Away from home, they have yet to earn a point, but victory over Burnley means they have taken 10 points from their last four home games to climb out of the relegation zone.
It is all a little baffling. There have been constant rumours about the dysfunctional mood at QPR, and at the beginning of the season, Redknapp looked weary, as though unable to raise himself for the fight. He made his usual complaints about resources, insisting he had been reduced to 12 senior players in pre-season, but while the words were familiar, the tine was not. The sparkle was gone.
Something changed, though, in a 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool. QPR were unfortunate to lose, and afterward, Redknapp launched into an extraordinary attack on the supposed lack of fitness of Adel Taraabt. It might not have been strictly fair, but it did suggest that the fire had been reignited in him.
The simple 4-4-2 was there again against Burnley, with Karl Henry and Joey Barton sitting deep in central midfield and Eduardo Vargas and Leroy Fer attacking down the flanks. Both wide men had fine games and there were spells when QPR’s passing was high class.
Burnley, arguably, had shaded the first half. Rob Green had pushed a George Boyd drive against the post.
Once Fer had forced the ball home to give QPR the lead six minutes into the second half, though, Burnley had the firepower to hit back.
Charlie Austin added the second goal after a fluent move at the 74-minutemark, and though he was sent off for a second yellow card two minutes later, it made little difference.
It may not have been the best defensive performance structurally, but Richard Dunne was excellent and Green able to make the saves when he was bypassed.
It is beginning to look as though Redknapp, somehow, will pull off another escape.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Richard Dunne (QPR)
The 35 year old isn’t quick, but he does win the ball in the air, and was never really troubled in the second half.
QPR RATING: 7/10 Individuals got them out of trouble and they had enough creativity and quality in their passing to open Burnley up.
BURNLEY: 6/10 Lots of early effort but a lack of quality cost them I the latter stages: in 14 minutes plus injury time against 10 men they didn’t create a serous chance.
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Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM