FOX Soccer Exclusive
QPR's wage bill yet to prove dividends
Queens Park Rangers can breathe for just a moment.
With ten games remaining in the Premier League season, QPR recorded its third road win at Southampton last weekend. The victory still leaves Rangers rooted to the bottom of the table, but it helps narrow the gap between relegation and survival.
QPR recently released reports this week that showed their wage bill had doubled to £56million in the year to May 31, 2012. They strengthened their squad with a number of high-earning footballer brought to Loftus Road, including French striker Loic Remy and Christopher Samba in January.
Redknapp, who took over in November after Mark Hughes, remains strongly convinced the owners know what they are doing. "If the debts are high the chairman and the board must understand that," he said. "They're not silly men, they're successful businessmen. They know what they're doing so I'll leave it to them. It's their business.
Redknapp added: "It's important obviously (to stay up). But when you are a football manager we are not involved in that side of the business. I've said it a million times, we are not involved in players' wages.
"That's done at a different level to what we work. We work with the team and on the pitch. The financial side of it I don't know. Those results were from before I came here."
Redknapp's players need to stay consistent if they want to have any chance of staying up this season. Redknapp reckons the Royals need 37 points to beat the drop which equates to five wins and two draws from their remaining ten games. Can they achieve it? Probably not.
However, a win at home to struggling Sunderland (live, FOXSoccer 2Go, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET) will definitely serve as a confidence booster ahead of key road matches at Aston Villa, Fulham and at home to Wigan. The Black Cats are winless in their last five matches, giving Rangers their best opportunity to springboard their bid for survival.
Reading hosts Aston Villa (live, FOX Soccer, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET) who fell to a 1-0 defeat to second-placed Manchester City on Monday. Reading has lost three on the trot and is definitely in need of points.
The Royals have been known to salvage games late on and this is in large part due to the electric environment the supporters create.
Manager Brian McDermott believes the fans will play a huge factor in all their home games. Speaking after last weekend's defeat to Wigan, McDermott praised the club's supporters. "We made sure we all went over to clap the fans, because they are going to be really important to us next week against Villa,” said McDermott. “We want to create a real vibrant atmosphere in our ground next week."
With Wigan playing Everton in the FA Cup this weekend (live, FOX Soccer, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET) both Reading and Aston Villa would move out of the drop zone with a draw, making Saturday’s clash at the Madejski Stadium all the more enthralling.
Aston Villa’s struggles continue. They haven’t been able to keep a clean sheet in 17 consecutive matches in all competitions. Captain Ciaran Clark showed his youth by trying to play his way out of the back against City, only to be controversially stripped of the ball and seeing it played around keeper Brad Guzan by Carlos Tevez. Fabian Delph picked up his 10th yellow card of the campaign, ruling him out of Saturday’s game as well as the visit of QPR.
Yes, Villa were playing the reigning champions, but they showed glimpses of positive play: If it were not for Tevez’s goal-line clearance, striker Christian Benteke could have extended his goal tally to 12. Guzan, a shining light for much of the season did not fade away. He produced a string of stops including a fingertip save, parrying Pablo Zabaleta’s shot onto the post. In the last 15 minutes of the match, there was a sense of urgency among the players, an urgency that needs to be on show for the rest of the season.
If Villa can replicate Monday’s performance against Reading, with so much at stake, Saturday’s match will not be one to miss.