Belfast Telegraph

Sheffield United are too sharp for tired QPR to handle

QPR 0-3 Sheffield United

By Sam Hughes

Sheffield United are getting rather good at this. Following victories over Premier League sides Southampton and West Ham in the League Cup this season, propelling them to the semi-final, the Blades carried on the trend at Loftus Road yesterday, dumping Queen's Park Rangers out of the FA Cup to increase the pressure on Harry Redknapp.

Marc McNulty and two goals from Jamal Campbell-Ryce made the difference as League One side United humiliated QPR.

The result continued United's remarkable recent cup record; Nigel Clough's men also reached the FA Cup semi-finals last season, beating Aston Villa and Fulham along the way.

"They were better than us," admitted Redknapp, who made seven changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Swansea on New Year's Day.

"They looked like a team that hadn't played for 10 days, and we looked like a team that has played four games in 10 days.

"I had to play four or five players who have played three games in a short period, but I had no one else."

It continues QPR's trend of early exits, several against lower-division opposition, in the 18 years since they last made it past the FA Cup third round without needing a replay. The west London outfit have won only two cup ties in the last 11 years.

QPR made a decent start, with Leroy Fer seeing a stinging shot saved at the near post by keeper Mark Howard, who also denied Jordon Mutch. But they never looked comfortable at the back and Campbell-Ryce gave the hapless Armand Traore the runaround on the right flank.

Stefan Scougall was also a constant threat for the visitors and fired over before they eventually went ahead nine minutes before half time courtesy of McNulty's ninth goal of the season.

Redknapp sent Bobby Zamora on at half time in an effort to change the course of the game, but United were two ahead within four minutes of the restart.

Traore needlessly conceded a corner and Alex McCarthy got nowhere near Reed's right-wing delivery. After the ball bounced off Mutch, Campbell-Ryce had the simple task of scoring from close range.

Zamora squandered a golden opportunity to pull a goal back when he headed Matt Phillips' cross wide - and Phillips was also guilty of a glaring miss, slicing a shot high and wide.

Rangers were listless throughout. Fer's stoppage-time error - a weak header towards his keeper latched upon by Campbell-Ryce, who rounded McCarthy before scoring - summed up their display and they were booed off by the home fans at the final whistle.

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