QPR boss Harry Redknapp puzzled by criticism of Stoke manager Tony Pulis

The two sides meet in a relegation battle at Loftus Road this weekend

QPR boss Harry Redknapp is puzzled by criticism of Tony Pulis as he seeks to increase the pressure on the Stoke manager when their teams meet at Loftus Road tomorrow.

Pulis has come under fire from his own supporters following the Potters' slide down the Barclays Premier League table that has left them just three points above the relegation zone.

Redknapp struggles to comprehend why Pulis, who until this season had been viewed as having done an exemplary job at the Britannia Stadium, is in the crosshairs.

"Absolutely the criticism he's had is unfair. He's done very well and has taken the club to another level," Redknapp said.

"They established themselves as a good mid-table Premier League club. They're a good club, well run with a good manager.

"They have had a blip and I'm sure Tony is finding out know who his friends are. People desert you at times like this.

"When confidence goes it can very hard to put your finger on why it's not there. You look for answers to what has happened and they're not easy to find."

Superstitious Redknapp abandoned his club suit last weekend in the hope of sparking a change in fortunes and in light of the 2-0 defeat at Everton he joked he will be "in the nude" at Loftus Road tomorrow.

The result left QPR 10 points adrift of safety, a seemingly insurmountable gap that Redknapp accepts can only be bridged if they embark on a startling run of victories.

"While it's still possible we've got to keep believing and keep going. We've got five games left," he said.

"If we could win four and draw one - we all know it's a tall order but if it happens it may be enough to stay up.

"This season 37 points may be enough to keep you up, so we have to keep trying.

"We have to win tomorrow. And then we must win at Reading. Then we have to beat Newcastle and Arsenal, for sure.

"And then we have to get something at Liverpool. It's tough, but that's the dream and while it's still there we have to keep going.

"Achievement-wise doing that would be the best. You would love to be able to do that for the people who own the club. I find it so sad because they're lovely people."

Redknapp appeared to criticise his players following the loss at Everton by asking "are they that talented?", but today he sought to clarify his comments.

"It was said to me that if we were relegated a lot of the players would want to leave because they wouldn't want to play in the Championship," he said.

"And I said I'd heard that so many times over the years with clubs. If they were playing that well they wouldn't be in the Championship in the first place.

"So I don't buy into that one. That's all I was talking about, I wasn't having a dig at the players. I wasn't being critical of them."

PA

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