Harry Redknapp says QPR players should be 'embarrassed'
Harry Redknapp described the performance of his new Queen's Park Rangers players this season as "embarrassing" as he prepared to take charge of the Premier League's bottom-placed team for the first time.
Introduced as Mark Hughes' successor at the club's training ground, Redknapp did not spare the players when it came to his assessment of their form ahead of Tuesday's game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
"Anyone should be higher than four points," he said. "It's an embarrassing total for the players to have. They have got to do better.
"It is no good us all kidding ourselves, saying they have all done great and fantastic. You can't be doing great if you have only four points, can you? That's impossible.
"It is not tough to work it out. How can you have four points from 13 games? Something has got to be wrong. I've got to find what is wrong and put it right quickly. That's the challenge.
"It's difficult. You can talk to players all day and those who aren't playing will blame those who are playing. Those who are playing will blame somebody else. The [former] manager, who is an excellent manager, has got the sack. It's up to me to make my own decisions over what's wrong with them and what needs doing."
Having been linked with a potential January move for David Beckham, Redknapp said that he had received a congratulatory text message from the former England captain and regarded the 37-year-old as a positive influence but did not suggest there were any plans to sign him.
Redknapp was met on his first day at the training ground by shareholder Kamarudin Bin Meranun but there was no sign of chairman Tony Fernandes.
The former Tottenham manager picked out the lack of strikers – due to the injuries to Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson – as a particular problem but said that he did not anticipate major investment in January and would try to make loan signings.
He said: "The owners have been fantastic. They've brought players in. I don't think a club brought more players in than QPR. Now it's up to the people who run the team to get the best out of what's here. I'm sure if there's one or two in the window, a couple of loans or whatever, then we'll be interested, but there's not going to be wholesale spending. That wouldn't be fair. The owners have spent a lot of money here."
A striker and a centre-half are priorities with Peter Crouch and Michael Dawson two players whom Redknapp is interested in. Crouch has played for Redknapp at three different clubs on four separate occasions and began his professional career at QPR. Nevertheless, it would prove hard for QPR to persuade Stoke to part with him mid-season.
Redknapp claimed that he would have taken the job of managing Ukraine had QPR not contacted him on Friday.
He said: "It was a good job. I spoke to [Andrei] Shevchenko about it. He said there were some good players there and I was excited about it. I would have gone that weekend."
Redknapp's assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan have both signed contracts at the club.
Redknapp also suggested that he would regard keeping QPR in the Premier League as his most significant triumph against relegation to date.
"I've got no time for people losing the ball, throwing their arms up in air, and standing around with their hands on their hips," Redknapp said. "We're in a relegation battle, we've got four points. It's their fault [the players] – nobody else's."
Sunderland v QPR
Odds: Sunderland 6-5 Draw 12-5 QPR 11-5
Kick-off 7.45pm (Highlights: 1am, Sky Sports 1)
Referee A Marriner (West Midlands).
Team news John O'Shea (calf) and Lee Cattermole (knee) are major doubts for Sunderland. Harry Redknapp has Park Ji-sung (knee) available, while Jose Bosingwa (virus) may also be fit for the visitors.