QPR 1-0 Tottenham: Daily Mirror match report
Published 21:31 22/04/12 By John Cross
Harry Redknappp says Tottenham have become their own worst enemy in the battle for a top-four finish.
Defeat at Loftus Road made it one win in nine games for Spurs. Or, put another way, six points from a possible 27.
They need not worry about the challenge of Newcastle, Chelsea or Arsenal. Their own wretched form has done the damage.
It has allowed the Toon to edge them out of the Champions League places for the first time since the first week of November.
Newcastle have been riding the crest of a wave while Tottenham went into freefall after beating Alan Pardew’s men 5-0 on February 11, just three days after Fabio Capello quit as England boss.
Coincidence? Redknapp insists it is. But do us a favour. Expectations were cranked up a level, the players don’t know whether the manager is coming or going and the fans are getting restless.
The FA were trying to do things the “right way” by not making an approach for any of their managerial targets so as not to disrupt Redknapp or Tottenham.
They need not have worried. Not making an approach has disrupted things even more.
After this latest setback, Redknapp said: “I don’t know who is the biggest threat to us. We are the biggest threat to ourselves probably.
“We can’t look at anything but winning our matches, against Blackburn, Bolton, Aston Villa and Fulham.
“Newcastle have to go to Chelsea, who don’t look like they are going to lose too many games at the moment. But they can’t both win that game. We have to win all four of our games and I think we can win all four of them.
“Newcastle are looking good. They made a great signing, spending £10million on Papiss Cisse. He has come in with Demba Ba who looks fantastic, and the little winger Hatem Ben Arfa is playing now. They look strong, they look good.
“But they go to Chelsea next week so let’s see what happens there,” added Redknapp.
“I don’t think it’s about pressure on us. It was not a problem at QPR.
“It was a bigger problem that we didn’t have another striker to put on.
“We haven’t got the biggest squad. Chelsea made eight changes at Arsenal and still looked good. If you look at our bench it was nowhere near. I could not make too many changes, I had nobody. We were desperate.”
Tottenham’s form has certainly been desperate, too, while QPR have enjoyed getting results against the big clubs at Loftus Road as they have already seen off Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Rangers boss Mark Hughes has them well drilled and pumped up.
The way they hung on after Adel Taarabt was harshly sent off in the 78th minute for a second booking after kicking the ball away was nothing short of heroic.Referee Mark Clattenburg appeared to have forgotten he’d already cautioned Taarabt, and didn’t initially reach for a red card.
Clattenburg also infuriated Tottenham boss Redknapp for giving the decisive free-kick after Sandro’s challenge on Taarabt. The tackle looked hard but fair, however the whistle could have gone to penalise Sandro’s trailing arm for handling the ball.
Taarabt fired home from the set-piece, his shot deceiving keeper Brad Friedel. The American moved the wrong way in anticipation and could not recover in time. It was a bad goalkeeping error.
Tottenham laid siege at times but could not find a way through.
Equally, they lacked a bit of spark and magic, despite having Gareth Bale and Luka Modric on the pitch.
Both had plenty of the ball but did not do enough with it.
Even more worrying for Spurs, perhaps, was the performance of centre-halves Ledley King and William Gallas.
King, in particular, hobbled his way through the game. He looks a shadow of his former self, and has done for weeks.
Clattenburg also surpassed himself in the 77th minute. He motioned that Scott Parker had dived to win a free-kick in a nondescript midfield challenge and yet did not book the Spurs midfielder.
After Taarabt’s red card and the England captain not getting booked on this occasion, and it’s hard to argue against the theory that bigger clubs and English players get things their way.