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The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 27 November 2012

Football: Redknapp blames players for lowly league position

Harry Redknapp has laid the blame for Queen's Park Rangers' perilous Premier League position firmly at the feet of the club's players. The 65-year-old, right, who was officially unveiled as the West London club's new manager yesterday, challenged the players to improve their performances. Redknapp was in the stands for Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United and takes charge for the first time for tonight's trip to Sunderland.

"Anyone should be higher than four points," Redknapp said, with the club currently sitting seven points from safety. "It's an embarrassing total to have. They have got to do better. Something has got to be wrong. I've got to find what is wrong and put it right quickly. That's the challenge." MORE

Harry's first six games:

Tonight Sunderland (a)

Saturday Aston Villa (h)

8 Dec Wigan (a)

15 Dec Fulham (h)

22 Dec Newcastle (a)

26 Dec West Bromwich (h)

Cricket: England complete superb victory

England wrapped up the second Test against India in Mumbai, rattling off the required 57 runs to win by 10 wickets. England earlier bowled out India for 142, spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann accounting for all 10 second innings wickets. The series is level at 1-1. pages MORE

Football: West Ham ban supporter for life

A West Ham fan has been handed a lifetime ban by the club after being cautioned by police for racially aggravated gesturing during Sunday's defeat at Tottenham. Both clubs are cooperating with a Football Association investigation into reported anti-Semitism during the match. MORE

Football: Cech: Di Matteo sacking was right

The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech claims the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo as manager was required to turn the club's fortunes around. "You need to change the situation," Cech said of last week's dismissal. "We were in it for some time and couldn't find a way out."

Football: Lambert buoyed by improvement

Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa's recent performances can give the club inspiration for tonight's visit of Reading. "Against [Manchester] United we were excellent," the Villa manager said. "And we deserved something from the Arsenal game. We're playing well."

Cricket: Patient Du Plessis frustrates Aussies

A patient century from debutant Faf du Plessis helped South Africa hold Australia to a draw in the second Test in Adelaide yesterday. Trailing by 429 runs, the tourists ended on 267-8 to keep the series level at 0-0 with one Test remaining.

Golf: McIlroy: I will be even better in 2013

Rory McIlroy has pledged to "keep improving" after wrapping up 2012 with his fifth win of the year. "I feel I can improve in different areas of the game," he said. "That's the challenge and fun of practice, trying to get better all the time."

Formula one: No title, but Alonso has 'dream' season

Fernando Alonso says he is delighted with his performance this season, despite failing to take the drivers' title. "It was by far the best season of my career," the Spanish driver said. "I will remember 2012 like some dream season."

Rugby union: Farrell to replace injured Flood

The England coach, Stuart Lancaster, will be without preferred fly-half Toby Flood for Saturday's match with New Zealand, the Leicester No 10 succumbing to a toe injury. Owen Farrell will start at No 10, with Freddie Burns on the bench. Chris Robshaw will remain as captain, with Lancaster intimating the flanker may keep the role for next year's Six Nations tournament. MORE

Racing: Henderson tests Gold Cup waters

Nicky Henderson, trainer of the Hennessy Gold Cup favourite, Bobs Worth, will today inspect ground conditions at Newbury ahead of this Saturday's chase. "I want to get a run into him this weekend," he said.

Opinion: James Lawton

On top of his own superb batting, Alastair Cook could claim a hard-edged understanding of the realities of his new job. High among these is that his greatest imperative is to have world-class cricketers at his disposal.

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