QPR FanZoner Chris King believes Harry Redknapp’s persistence with a back three could harm the club’s chances of Premier League revival.
Queens Park Rangers have endured a difficult start to the new season, with successive defeats to Hull City and Tottenham Hotspur overshadowing a summer of positive transfer dealings.
Rangers were particularly poor against Spurs, showing an unwillingness to tackle or press their opponents that left Erik Lamela acres of space to cross for an unmarked Nacer Chadli to make it 3-0.
The arrivals of Steven Caulker and Rio Ferdinand have paved the way for manager Harry Redknapp to operate a three-man defence, but this strategy was hopelessly exposed at White Hart Lane.
Against quicker teams, such as Spurs, the back three simply cannot keep up.
Richard Dunne is a competent defender at Championship level, but he has already been found out in the Premier League after just 123 minutes.
Redknapp, meanwhile, did not help himself by waving at the request of the gleeful home fans, who were 4-0 up and cruising after Danny Rose broke down the left and crossed for Emmanuel Adebayor to tap in.
Perhaps expectations were raised slightly too high following the impressive signings of Chile international Mauricio Isla, who suffered a torrid debut, Norwich City’s Leroy Fer and Napoli’s Eduardo Vargas.
It is worth pointing out that the Rs were a missed penalty by Charlie Austin away from getting a draw against Hull, and could have won the game with better finishing and a slice of luck.
However, it appears that Redknapp is insistent upon sticking with the new defensive set-up, particularly after bringing in Glenn Hoddle, who favours the unusual system, as a coach.
Given the boss’ penchant for transfer deadline-day dealings, he could rightly identify the players at the back as the problem, and go in pursuit of replacements but wrongly leave the formation as it is.
He was right to say that QPR looked devoid of energy and were slow on the ball, as evidenced by Spurs’ opening goal, when Loic Remy dithered and lost possession on the halfway line.
Yet stubbornness could prove fatal, and the spectre of a Mark Hughes-style capitulation, where a team that looked brilliant on paper flopped spectacularly, will remain until the Rs get their first win.
Given that three of Rangers’ five goals conceded have been headers by unmarked opponents, there is obvious room for improvement and clearly a bedding-in period is to be expected.
Nonetheless, three losses on the bounce could cause Redknapp to question his own appetite for another Premier League survival battle, as he did during last season’s play-off final victory.
It took QPR until December 15, and 16 winless games, to get their first three points in 2012-13. Redknapp’s side should avoid a similar fate this time around, but must start improving quickly.
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Originally published on TEAMtalk on Monday August 25 2014.