Queen's Park Rangers 3 Sunderland 1 match report: Harry Redknapp trusts in influence of brave Bobby Zamora as QPR claim back-to-back wins
QPR come from a goal down to win at Loftus Road
He did not score, or provide an assist, and was not even on the pitch when the clinching third goal in Saturday's potentially pivotal victory went in. Yet Bobby Zamora's example in simply taking the field against Sunderland showed why Queen's Park Rangers suddenly feel they have a chance of avoiding relegation.
Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, said: "Bobby needs a hip operation, he's torn an ankle ligament and he's played through that.
"At half-time we had to keep him on the move, stretching, he has to have some stuff put on his hip and if he sits down he seizes up. He won't be able to get into his car now after the game. It will be a nightmare for him even to get his leg up. But he wants to play. Believe you me, you'd have him in your side.
"He's good for the team, he talks to people and is a big influence. Bobby travelled to Southampton with us last week because he wanted to be around the boys. You need people like that; it's what makes your football club. Christopher Samba is the same. He's important in the dressing room. Last week he stood up and said: 'Lads, this result counts for nothing if we don't beat Sunderland next week.' And he was right. We've got a few like that."
When Redknapp arrived at Loftus Road in November, he found too many of a different sort. "You know exactly the people who you want and those you don't because they'll let you down," he added.
"I know the ones I can trust and I think they're strong enough not to let others sidetrack them any more."
Redknapp would not name names, but noted that Adel Taarabt, benched last week, had failed to make the squad after "he got a little bit of a thigh strain or something". He preferred to talk about the growing confidence in his squad that they can climb out of the bottom three.
"I think the players believe it can be done," he said. "The team has changed suddenly. I lost a fantastic centre-half in Ryan Nelsen, who got a manager's job in Canada. He was arguably our best player this season. But Samba has come in and made a difference, Loïc Rémy is scoring goals, Bobby is on the way back and suddenly we look a stronger team."
The trick now will be to maintain his side's momentum and confidence on Saturday away to their relegation rivals Aston Villa, who are four points better off in the league table.
"I think we will go to Villa looking for a win but it's important we don't get beaten," added Redknapp. "We will think about how we play and hopefully come up with the right answer."
For Sunderland, the answer to a run of only five points from seven games is simple, according to their manager Martin O'Neill.
"In the last few games we have played, my view is that we shouldn't have been beaten," said the Northern Irishman. "But we have to turn it around. We have to go and win."
Goals: QPR Remy 30, Townsend 70, Jenas 90. Sunderland Fletcher 20. Substitutions: QPR Mackie (Zamora, 73), Wright-Phillips (Hoilett, 78), Jenas (Remy, 81). Sunderland Rose 5 (Graham, 57), Vaughan (N’Diaye, 77), Bardsley (Colback, 81). Bookings: Sunderland N’Diaye, Gardner. Man of the match Townsend. Match rating 7/10. Possession: QPR 50%. Sunderland 50%. Attempts on target: QPR 6. Sunderland 2. Referee M Jones (Cheshire). Att 18,169.
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