Harry Redknapp insisted last night that despite all the evidence his Queens Park Rangers side would still stay up, after seeing them outplayed and beaten by a 3-0 score-line which flattered Liverpool.
QPR are bottom, eight points from safety and with their easier fixtures all gone. But their manager remains improbably confident.
“I still think we'll stay up,” Redknapp said, with almost baffling optimism. “You'll think we're mad, but I think we will.”
The manager demanded that his players share his unbendable faith.
“I only want positive players around me,” he said. “I said that in the dressing room after the match. Those who are moping around, the subs who are not playing, are not playing because they're no good. If they're any good, I'd be picking them. I don't need miserable faces, I don't need them around me. I need people who are upbeat.”
Redknapp will try to get rid of those who do not agree next month: “A few have miserable faces too often for some reason. If there are people who don't want to be here, as soon as the window opens we'll see if we can fix something up for them if we can.”
Redknapp said that Jose Bosingwa, recently fined two weeks’ wages for refusing to sit on the bench, was out of the side because of injury.
Asked to explain his optimism, Redknapp pointed to the chance to add new players in the January transfer window, which opens tomorrow.
“I just believe we will [stay up],” Redknapp said. “I just feel we can still turn it round, if we can get one or two in now. It can still make the difference and we can do that.”
Rangers are bottom in the Premier League with 10 points from 20 games, leaving them eight points behind 17 placed Aston Villa. Swansea City, West Ham United, Reading, Southampton, Aston Villa and Fulham have all come to Loftus Road already. QPR play Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City next month.
Redknapp refused to explain his team’s defeat as due to a lack of effort, but simply the difference in quality between the sides.
“They've got better quality than we had, everywhere,” he said. “It was a very difficult game.”
“There's a difference in quality wherever you go in football. Today, Liverpool had too much quality for us. Joe Allen cost £20m, Jordan Henderson cost £20m, and Steven Gerrard would cost £50m... and you have to try and match that with a team that is at different levels. You can only try your best.”