Harry Redknapp has lifted the lid on his reasons for resigning from Queens Park Rangers the day after transfer deadline day.
Redknapp, 67, has revealed he is "struggling so badly" with knee problems and broke the news to QPR owner Tony Fernandes with a 5.30am phone call.
"I was awake all night, thinking about it," Redknapp told the Daily Mail. "I'm struggling so badly now. I can't walk, I can barely stand and watch. I'm in pain all the time. I've been putting it off, and putting it off, but it has got to the stage where I cannot do the job.
Contenders to be next QPR manager
Contenders to be next QPR manager
1/6 Michael Laudrup
There is huge respect for Laudrup on these shores following his stint with Swansea during which he led them to League Cup success in 2013 playing a stylish brand of football on a tight budget. The former Barcelona player also enjoyed success with Brondby and is currently manager of Qatari team Lekhwiya, though he is unlikely to be available until the end of the season.
2/6 Tim Sherwood
The Independent columnist has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham at the end of last season. The former Blackburn player came close to taking the job at West Brom last month and has been linked with almost every vacancy going since becoming available, but pulled out of the race to replace Harry Redknapp on Tuesday 10 February.
3/6 Les Ferdinand
Another contender already at Loftus Road, Ferdinand held the role of head of football operations before he was appointed director of footba;;. The striker also played for QPR in the early stages of his career, scoring 80 league goals for the Hoops. That might make him a popular choice with fans but he has no management experience.
4/6 Steve McClaren
The former England manager held a coaching role at QPR before he was appointed to his current position as manager of Derby County. With the Rams currently in one of the automatic promotion spots in the Championship it might be difficult to tempt him away.
5/6 Gianfranco Zola
Links with local rivals Chelsea might not endear him to supporters although the Italian is a likeable character and could turn opinion around. Had a mixed spell as manager of West Ham and nearly guided Watford to promotion from the Championship in 2013. Was only recently appointed as manager of Serie A side Cagliari.
6/6 Chris Ramsey
The current caretaker manager appears to a be a likely candidate to remain in charge until the end of the season. Ramsey made 100 league appearances for Swindon Town and joined Rangers' coaching staff in November last year.
"I booked a ticket for Fulham's FA Cup game with Sunderland on Tuesday night, but my first thought was, 'how am I going to get to the ground?' Even if I get a car park pass there is going to be some walking. I can't walk around Craven Cottage anymore, I can't walk down the street – that's how bad it has got."
Redknapp told Fernandes they needed "someone who can give it everything" in the final weeks of the season. QPR are struggling in 19th in the Premier League with just five wins from 23 games; the side have also lost all 11 of their away fixtures this season.
The decision to leave after a highly frustrating deadline day that saw no new arrivals to Loftus Road has been speculated by many as the real reason for Redknapp's departure. But he insisted that was not true.
"I haven't got the hump, we haven't had a row," added Redknapp. "I knew some while ago that we were not going to be able to get much done in January. We had one real target on the last day, Emmanuel Adebayor, because we are short upfront.
"But he was too much money. I accept that. There are no hard feelings on my part – I've not had a problem with Tony Fernandes in all my time there...
"I know what people think – that I've been sacked, or stormed off because we couldn't get the players in. My son Jamie said that my timing has to be the worst in the world. When I look back on my career, it certainly isn't my strong point – but I can't control what people think.
"I feel positive about the future at Rangers – Sandro is back at the weekend and he will make a huge difference. We've got other players coming back from injury, too – if I could get out and coach them like I could five years ago, I'd be optimistic. But I can't."
However, Redknapp did also say his management career has not yet ended.
"I still don't think I'm finished with football. When I've had the operations, I'll be looking for work again, I know that. I can't imagine my life without it. But right now, I've got to make my health the priority."
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