Thursday 27 October 2016

Harry Redknapp blames squad weakness for drop

Clint Hill
Clint Hill

Harry Redknapp believes QPR's relegation hinged on failing to build a squad capable of Premier League survival last summer.

The former Rangers manager has admitted the Loftus Road club did not attract enough top-flight quality after winning promotion from the Championship.

Redknapp quit QPR in February claiming knee surgery prohibited him from seeing out the campaign, and the club's demotion was confirmed in Sunday's 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City.

Former Tottenham boss Redknapp has since held up his hands to concede last summer's recruitment sowed the relegation seed, with new boss Chris Ramsey unable to turn the tide.

READ MORE: What relegation will cost QPR

"Nine of the team that started yesterday played in the Championship last year when we got up in the play-offs," Redknapp said.

"We finished 20 points behind (champions) Leicester and almost the same behind (runners-up) Burnley and nine of those lads are still playing.

"Eleven of the 25 in the squad that was there when I arrived were part of the team which went down two years ago.

"It has been difficult. We spent good money on three players. Two of them played yesterday, only Sandro didn't. The thing they have got in their favour is they have a fantastic chairman, a good board, and they have got good supporters as well, who are very loyal to the club.

"But you have to be realistic. Nine of the 11 were playing in the Championship last year and, at the end of the day, we fell short. We weren't good enough."

QPR defender Clint Hill expects serious questions to be asked at the club this summer - but is not blaming "bad eggs" for their relegation.

Prior to the City game, midfielder Joey Barton had claimed that not all members of the squad were giving everything for the cause, referring to them as "bad eggs".

Hill did not disagree with that sentiment - and nor did manager Chris Ramsey when asked after the game - but he insisted it was not an excuse. Hill said: "No matter who is not pulling in the right direction, it should not affect you as an individual. In every dressing room you are not going to get the right type of people.

"There are certain people who might not put the effort in here and there or might not be right on the training ground, but that should not affect you as a professional.

"Did we have the quality? Probably not. But the lads that have gone out there every week have tried everything and given their hearts out."

Rangers still have two games to play this season against Newcastle and Leicester but, beyond that, the short-term future is uncertain.

A squad clear-out is possible and the position of the manager also needs to be clarified, with Ramsey having been appointed only until the end of the season.

Upstairs, the issue of Financial Fair Play still looms. The club could face the possibility of a large fine - reportedly £60million - if they are deemed to have breached Football League FFP regulations when last in the Championship in 2013-14.

Hill does not apportion any blame to Ramsey, who took over with the team already in the relegation zone when Harry Redknapp left in February. The 53-year-old has overseen just two wins in 13 games but Hill hopes he stays on.

Asked if Ramsey would be a good appointment, Hill said: "I think so. Obviously he is a good coach who likes his youngsters. It is about getting fresh players in and getting the right culture into the dressing room.

"He has come into a difficult situation - with the position we were in and so many of the players not being his.

"I feel sorry for him because he has given everything on the training ground. He has tried to raise us and give us a steady platform. In most games we have competed but we have faded towards the end of the season."



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