Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp hails QPR fighting spirit

Harry Redknapp feels QPR are now rid of the kind of troublemakers that can "contaminate" a club and believes his players' fighting spirit will be the key to Barclays Premier League survival.

Rangers have boasted a squad full of stellar names in recent seasons but the team has been regularly criticised for a lack of cohesion and commitment.

After a disappointing start to their first campaign back in the top flight, QPR have enjoyed a resurgence of late with wins over Leicester and Aston Villa, as well as a draw against Manchester City.

Redknapp believes his side are turning a corner ahead of Tuesday's visit to Swansea and he puts the improvement down to a strong team spirit.

"We have a good group of lads here," Redknapp said.

"That's what makes a football team. It's not the 11 who play. It's the football club.

"If you have half a dozen s**** around you've got no chance, you can't win, they'll contaminate the rest of them and bring the whole club down.

"They'll be negative everywhere, getting into good lads and bringing them down to their level.

"When you've a good group of lads it's the easiest job in the world."

When Redknapp was appointed manager two years ago, he inherited an expensive squad that was lethargic and ill-disciplined.

Rangers finished bottom of the table and 15 points adrift of safety at the end of the campaign but the QPR boss insists there is a different ethos at the club now.

"It was hard, it was difficult then," Redknapp said.

"This is a new lot of lads now and they're good lads. Niko Kranjcar hasn't been in the side the last few weeks but has trained like a demon, working hard, practising, wanting to get back in the team.

"Rio (Ferdinand), when he didn't play on Saturday, was stood alongside me in the dugout, shouting and as involved as much as I was with the game. He wants us to win.

"That's what you need. You don't want someone with a face like thunder."

Redknapp added: "Your whole group around you is the most important thing.

"If you walk in and see one or two s****, you're watching them, watching who they talk to and what they are doing.

"They suck as much energy out of you as anything. You need a good group of lads who come out and want to train hard."

QPR travel to Liberty Stadium looking to climb out of the bottom three for the first time since September.

The fixture marks the beginning of a busy period that sees Rangers play seven games in four and a half weeks.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and Southampton's Ronald Koeman have both questioned the sense in the packed festive calendar but Redknapp disagrees.

"It's hard, on Boxing Day everyone wants to go to the football," Redknapp said. "They're the biggest crowds in the country for football, racing, all sports.

"People have had enough of sitting indoors on Christmas Day and they want to get out.

"You can't do away with that, it's part of the tradition in this country. We play on Boxing Day in England."

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