Hit | Miss | Sideline : Redknapp addresses QPR faults
So the long awaited day finally came for Queens Park Rangers to get their first Premier League win. It’s been a long time in coming and the so-called monkey will now be off their back.
I have said this since Harry Redknapp took over and I still firmly believe that QPR will survive this season. Now, before anybody questions my sanity, let me put this to you. QPR have a stronger squad than the likes of Reading, Southampton, Norwich and Wigan but the few things that have been lacking in their dressing-room have been addressed. By the appointment of Redknapp.
That is confidence, belief and organisation. Also, with the team that he inherited, there were a few players who were playing because of the simple fact that they cost the club a lot of money and it was Mark Hughes who had bought them. Now, though, with Redknapp in charge, this is different.
He didn’t buy any of these players so he is under no pressure to play them and he can play what he believes is his strongest team without fear of dropping the big names. For example, on Saturday, Esteban Granero and Julio Cesar, two of QPR’s most notable signings and likely big earners, were on the bench.
You could pretty much guarantee that if Hughes was still in charge, Cesar would have been put straight back in and Granero would never have been dropped. That’s the pressure that comes with managers paying big money for players. Now, QPR seem to have a solidness about them and Redknapp has instilled the self-belief that was missing so badly.
Take Shaun Wright-Phillips, for example. On his day, he is one of the best wingers in the Premier League. But, for some reason, it wasn’t working for him. Now Redknapp has come in, he looks the player that we all know he is. I have always said that the managers who are the real man-managers know how to make players tick and get the best out them. Redknapp can certainly do that.
I believe that QPR will go from strength to strength now and, with a little bit of tinkering in the January transfer window, we will witness the greatest escape of recent times in the Premier League. Adel Taarabt is the main man there and showed in the 2-1 win over Fulham that he is a danger to any team.
It’s vital, if possible, that he doesn’t travel with Morocco to the African Cup of Nations next year because he will be irreplaceable at Loftus Road. He is a natural talent who, with the right guidance, can be whatever he wants to be.
Just what was Marouane Fellaini thinking? Great talent that he is but, at times, a loose cannon. Before I get on to that, let me say how refreshing it was to see David Moyes’ comments on the incident. No, not a case of “I didn’t see it” or “It was the other team’s fault”. No, brutal honesty from a man who believes in telling it as it is and playing the game in the right manner.
It was great to see and, as I have said many times before, Moyes is a true great when it comes to Premier League managers and my hat goes off to him for his honest assessment of the incident. If only all people would say what they see instead of pretending to have seen differently.
Anyway, back to the incident. Stoke are and always will be a physical team. That’s their nature and it’s been successful for them. I believe that the tag that they behave as bully boys has been blown out of all proportion. But what was running through Fellaini’s mind when he decided to put the head on Ryan Shawcross? It’s beyond me.
Shawcross went down, not through play-acting but through a head butt that would have knocked most people over. He didn’t exaggerate it or roll around. He got up and carried on with the game – all credit to him – but the powers that be must deal with Fellaini.
It’s obvious he wasn’t getting much change from the Stoke backline and, as great a talent as he is, he can get wound up quite easily. This is something that he needs to address or players from opposing teams will play on this. He will get what he deserves … but I have a question about these rules and regulations.
Let’s go back to the game. Imagine Mark Halsey, the referee, had caught glimpse of the incident but didn’t see it properly and just decided to book Fellaini. It’s my understanding that, then, Fellaini would no longer be up for a ban because the referee had admitted that he had seen it.
So, if Halsey didn’t see it – as would appear to be the case – Fellaini could end up with a more lengthy ban, which is bizarre. This is another situation that should be black and white. Regardless of whether an official sees an incident or not, all controversial issues – like off-the-ball problems – should be looked at on a Monday morning and given the ban that is due. Is that too much to ask?
I can’t help but feel that Robin van Persie, already, must be up there with the likes of Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel and Jaap Stam as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s best-ever signings. The Dutchman is the main man at Old Trafford now and not only have his goals been invaluable to Manchester United but also his overall play has moved them on to a new level.
I always say the sign of a great player is how he makes players around him flourish and I can’t help but think that the likes of Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney are thriving on having this man in their team. The chances he creates for them – and the space and movement – is a joy to watch and he has already paid back his transfer fee and more.
Van Persie is on his way to becoming a United legend.