Adel Taarabt has taken full aim at Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp following his claim that the Moroccan was “three-stone overweight” by heavily criticising his training methods and time spent actually taking training.
Taarabt has been used sparingly by Redknapp this season, and his absence from a struggling QPR team came to a head following the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday where Redknapp claimed Taarabt was unavailable for selection because he is unfit.
The 25-year-old has not taken well to Redknapp’s criticism – unsurprisingly – and in an interview with the Daily Mail, he spoke of the former Tottenham manager’s techniques on the training ground and laid the blame firmly on Redknapp for the entire squad being unfit.
“He spends most of the time in his office but when he gets off the phone he comes down to watch for five or 10 minutes - he never takes a session,” Taarabt told the Daily Mail. “That’s when he said he had it in mind to start me against Liverpool.’
QPR 2 Liverpool 3 player ratings
QPR 2 Liverpool 3 player ratings
1/22 QPR: Alex McCarthy
Did a solid job deputising for Rob Green – little he could do about any of Liverpool’s goals. 6/10
2/22 Nedum Onuoha
Hardly tested during the first half before going off with an injury. 6
3/22 Richard Dunne
At fault for the Reds’ opener – didn’t adjust his feet quickly enough and turned Sterling’s effort into his own goal. 5
4/22 Steven Caulker
Scored the match-winning goal… at the wrong end. Unfortunate, having worked hard to keep his side in touch as Liverpool threatened to run away with the game having gone 1-0 up. 5
5/22 Yun Suk-Young
Solid performance apart from losing concentration for Liverpool’s opener – defended capably and provided width down the left as QPR dominated the first half – should keep his starting place. 6
6/22 Mauricio Isla
A real threat down the right in the first half, forced to move backwards by Onuoha’s withdrawal at half-time. 6
7/22 Karl Henry
Bullish performance in the centre of midfield. Bullied his more illustrious opponents at times. 7
Influential for 60 minutes before going off injured – his departure coincided with Liverpool taking control of the game. 7
9/22 Leroy Fer
Should have given his side the lead in the first half as he twice hit the bar with great chances – aside from that played well. 6
10/22 Bobby Zamora
The captain’s physicality was a threat to the Liverpool defence right from the opening moment – laid on chances for Austin and Fer that should have been taken. 8
11/22 Charlie Austin
A threat to the Liverpool defence throughout, could have got himself on the score sheet, but did well to set up Vargas’ first. 7
12/22 Liverpool: Simon Mignolet
Another shaky performance – made some good saves but looked extremely vulnerable at times. 5/10
13/22 Glen Johnson
Looked a little rusty on his return to the starting XI from injury – helped prevent a goal with some last ditch defending in the first half and crossed for Dunne’s own goal. 6
14/22 Martin Skrtel
The enforcer of Liverpool’s back four was completely bullied by Zamora and can count himself fortunate (or unfortunate) if he keeps his starting place against Real Madrid on Wednesday. 5
15/22 Dejan Lovren
Unable to handle the inspired Zamora until he went off – unconvincing. 5
16/22 Jose Enrique
Caused a lot of trouble by Isla in the first half – unable to impact the game going forward. 5
17/22 Jordan Henderson
One of few Liverpool players who could be reasonably satisfied with his performance. His mixture of effort and quality helped to keep the Reds in the game as they struggled in the first half. 7
18/22 Emre Can
Making his first Premier League start, the German U21 international failed to stamp his authority on the game and was replaced by Joe Allen soon after the hour mark. 5
19/22 Raheem Sterling
It wasn’t his finest game, but his decisive impact speaks for itself. Played a part in all of Liverpool’s goals and can now looking forward to taking on Real Madrid on Wednesday. 7
20/22 Steven Gerrard
Pushed into a more advanced role in the first half, he was anonymous until almost giving his side the lead just before the break – a bit better when dropping deeper in the second half. 5
21/22 Adam Lallana
Gradually working his way back to full fitness, the England man struggled to get involved during the first half but his shot did lead to Balotelli’s big chance. Went off soon after the hour mark. 5
22/22 Mario Balotelli
He didn’t deserve to be on the winning side. Spurned two great opportunities and generally didn’t look after possession very well. 4
“The training sessions aren’t the same standard as Milan, or what I would expect under another manager. They are not as intense, the players aren’t as motivated. It is the same as we used to do at Tottenham years ago. When we played West Ham he told the players ‘you’re not fit, you’re not this, you’re not that’.
“I said ‘but the problem is we don’t have any plan in the game, we don’t know how to press as a team. It’s not about just running around, you need to play with your brain’.”
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Having ended last season on-loan with AC Milan, Taarabt has used to Italian club as a comparison to what he experiences at Loftus Road. Having been selected in the Milan squad ahead of the likes of Brazilian duo Robinho and Kaka, Taarabt was at a loss to explain how he could not get into a QPR side that remains rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
“When I was playing at Milan, sometimes Kaka or Robinho weren’t getting in the team,” added Taarabt. “Then I come to QPR, and that’s not to disrespect my team-mates because I have a good relationship with them, but I was surprised I was not in the squad.
“When I came back from Milan, the QPR kitman said ‘you are no more No 10’. I never wanted to be No 10 but the fans asked the chairman for Adel to be 10 not 7 because of the legend Stan Bowles - they wanted me to have the 10 shirt.
“They said they had never seen an exciting player like this for 20 or 25 years, so I said to Tony Fernandes I will take it. Then this summer I was told I would be 27 so I said ‘OK, no problem’. I said nothing.
“I just think that obviously at QPR the fans love me, I love QPR and I love the fans. They are my club. You can’t break the relationship with me and the fans. He wants to get the fans against me.”
The interview, which was featured in the national newspaper on Tuesday two days after Redknapp launched the astonishing attack on his own player, was accompanied by pictures of Taarabt lifting up his shirt to expose a body that did not look overweight.
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