It’s been a difficult season to assess so far at QPR.
And it’s even harder to single out Harry Redknapp when reviewing the manager’s performance.
The Premier League campaign started woefully for the R’s, as a side devoid of passion, unity or energy mustered just one win in seven games. Was that, though, the fault of Redknapp and his coaching staff? Or were the players to blame for failing to heed their coach’s instructions?
Since, of course, it’s been a different story for the west London side. QPR have taken just four points from four games but that could easily have been more and, importantly, their performance levels have been remarkably high against very difficult opposition.
So has Redknapp – or, again, could this simply be down to the players – pulled things round?
Things certainly seem to have been clicking at Loftus Road of late. Mauricio Isla has found form, while Yun Suk-Young has been terrific at left-back. Eduardo Vargas has starred in midfield – and Charlie Austin has shown enough promise to suggest he could become a leading striker for England one day.
And, if this kind of form is maintained, QPR have every chance of staying up, with Redknapp enjoying every chance of staying in west London for a long time to come.
Where the 67-year-old’s season could well be won or lost, however, is in January, where Redknapp may want to avoid a repeat of some of his summer dealings. The signing of Rio Ferdinand, for instance, appears to have backfired – and a similar situation risks presenting itself with Jermain Defoe. Further clever loan signings like that of Isla & Vargas, though, could well be pivotal in QPR’s bid to stay up.
Is Redknapp the man to keep QPR in the Premier League? Several weeks ago, the answer would have been a big fat no. How quickly things change in football. The R’s now have a very realistic chance of survival; but the hard part is only just beginning.
Manager Grading: B-/C+