Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp relishes vital victory

QPR boss Harry Redknapp believes a close-fought victory over Leicester was crucial to keeping his side from losing ground in the battle to avoid relegation.

In an open contest, which saw a record 51 chances on goal, QPR showed just enough to seal a 3-2 win in the first of a series of fixtures Redknapp has labelled as a "very important period" in his side's bid to survive this season.

The Foxes replace Rangers at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table after the result, which saw Nigel Pearson's side take the lead with their first goal in 504 minutes of football.

Esteban Cambiasso's measured finish gave the visitors the lead early on but QPR fought back and were ahead at the break courtesy of a Wes Morgan own goal and a first goal for the club from Leroy Fer.

Leicester levelled through Jeffrey Schlupp before a fifth goal in as many games from Charlie Austin gave Redknapp's side what could prove to be a vital win.

"It was an excellent performance," said Redknapp.

"There was a lot of pressure on the game today, when you are stuck at the bottom you know that if you don't win, even a draw, you come away and you are still cut adrift.

"To get three points has put us right back in there again. There about eight teams still down there in a relegation battle - you haven't got to be that clever to pick them out, that is how it is going to be all year but I feel we can get out of it."

Redknapp also praised the character of his squad to remain in the match despite falling behind early on and felt the win was a culmination of good work in recent games.

"We came back," he said.

"We could have felt sorry for ourselves in that opening five minutes but we didn't, we came back strong and we made lots of chances.

"It was an open, attacking game - an excellent game I thought with both teams going for it. We went one down in the first five minutes and it was their first goal in a while. They are a dangerous team on the counter attack.

"We swarmed people forward but they were always dangerous on the counter The first half was as good as we have played. They created one or two on the break but I thought we were very good.

"I felt the last five or six weeks that we have been playing very well. Like every manager I don't feel like we got the points we deserved from those games. Certainly the Liverpool game here, Chelsea away and Man City - but we have been playing well."

Having broken their goalscoring duck, it could have been easy to point a finger at Leicester's defence for slipping to a fifth defeat in six games.

But Pearson was pleased with the efforts of his back-line and felt both sides did their utmost to take the points in a frenetic encounter.

"It was a game in which both sides tried to win and, unfortunately for us today, we didn't win it," he said.

"What you could say about us today is that we were a bit wasteful at times. I thought our defenders played very well - that is not the reason we conceded goals.

"We created enough chances to win it. Our defenders did alright, there were some great blocks in the first half and I thought we, as a defensive unit, were fine.

"Players did not track runners and your defenders are not responsible for that. We have started the game well enough and created chances throughout, it is a game we should have won in many ways."

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