Premier League

Schneiderlin signs extension

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Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:24:00

Gary Neville was left baffled by Queens Park Rangers' 'unexplainable' defending at the weekend but thinks the Premier League's rock-bottom club could still produce a Great Escape.

A 2-0 defeat by league leaders Manchester United on Saturday left Harry Redknapp's team at the foot of the table and seven points from safety with just 11 matches remaining in the season.

There was little QPR could do to stop Rafael from opening the scoring with a wonderful strike but Sky Sports expert Neville was less than impressed with the defending which allowed Ryan Giggs to add United's second.

Jose Bosingwa permitted Danny Welbeck to set up the goal while Stephane Mbia moved away from play, seemingly adjusting his gloves rather than focusing on the game, before Clint Hill and Christopher Samba were caught out of position.

"You can talk about tactics and analysis all you like," Neville said on Monday Night Football. "You can potentially say, 'Okay, Clint Hill, you maybe should have gone in there'. You can maybe say, 'Samba, you should have adjusted your position.'

"They are tactical, football points - players maybe not seeing the danger early enough. (But) I cannot understand what Bosingwa and Mbia have done.

"They are things which go beyond football analysis, because, to walk away from the game, which is something Mbia has done, is unexplainable."

But Neville does not think QPR are certain to be relegated and the former England international and ex-United defender is in no doubt about the importance of this weekend's game at Southampton, who sit 16th in the table and 10 points above their next visitors.

Neville reckons the factors in QPR's favour are the presence of manager Redknapp, who steered Portsmouth to safety in 2005/06 when they had been eight points from survival with 11 games remaining, and a favourable fixture list for the rest of the season.

After Southampton, QPR also still have fellow strugglers Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic and Reading to play before May and wins in those matches could let them potentially climb out of the relegation zone.

"When I see the things that are happening (against United), it is not what I think of in the Premier League - fighting to get into challenges and getting across the sides," said Neville.

"But I sense that, two or three months out, this thought is going deeper into the back of this thick skull that QPR still could, and may, get out of it (relegation).

"Southampton could almost put QPR to bed on Saturday. But if QPR win and bring Southampton back into them, they could potentially go on a run."

Aberdeen slipped down to eighth in the SPL after a weekend in which they drew 1-1 at Kilmarnock, during a game when Niall McGinn was wrongly booked for diving by Euan Norris after being brought down by goalkeeper Cammy Bell inside the box.

McGinn also hit the post at Rugby Park as Aberdeen saw Tuesday's opponents, Ross County, jump above them in the SPL.

County also have a game in hand and defeat for the Dons could leave them further adrift as most of the league looks to earn a top-half slot.

But Brown expects his men to come out fighting after what he felt was the latest in a line of dubious decisions to go against them.

The former Scotland manager said: "I cannot think of a time this season where we have had a marginal decision given to us and that's disappointing.

"When you feel a bit persecuted, it gives you a desire and it also usually affects the crowd because they feel the injustice.

"The players feel the injustice and put more in to try to rectify the situation.

"There are groups of players who cry in their beer and give up because of what happened but we have a group who are determined to fight through adversity.

"We revel in adversity and you will see that in the forthcoming games that Aberdeen won't give in to any adversity that we have unfortunately had.

"There's a fighting squad in the dressing room, there's a fighting mentality on the bench and I'm definitely committed to winning games and not accepting anything short of success."

Despite slipping out of the top six, Brown has been happy with recent performances that have also seen them beat Dundee 1-0 and draw 0-0 with St Mirren.

"I would say two and a half of the last three have been encouraging," he said.

"I thought we played well enough against St Mirren and didn't get the goal we needed. We played well first half against Dundee.

"We played consistently well and had five really good chances at Kilmarnock, and obviously hit the post and had the controversial penalty decision.

"The lads can't be faulted for recent performances. We need to maintain that.

"We have five games before the split, three at home, and we just ask the home support to be as supportive as the away support, and I'm sure we will get the points that take us up into the top half."

Schneiderlin will remain at the club until the summer of 2017 after the Saints confirmed they had tied him down to a new deal on Monday evening.

The 24-year-old Frenchman has played an important role for the Saints in their first season back in the top flight, missing just one Premier League match and scoring four goals.

"I am a very happy man," Schneiderlin told Saints Player after completing the seal this evening.

"To commit my future to Southampton is a big thing because this club has big ambitions - and I have big ambitions as well.

"I wouldn't have signed this contract if the club didn't have a big project. When I spoke to the chairman and the manager, I knew they wanted to do something very good at this club and I want to be a part of that.

"My main focus now is to do a great job on the pitch so we achieve all of the ambitions that we have."

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