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Queens Park Rangers hire Redknapp as new manager

Associated Press

11/24/2012 10:36:29 AM

LONDON -- Harry Redknapp made a strident start to his stint as Queens Park Rangers manager on Saturday, blaming the players for the London club being bottom of the Premier League without a win.

The 65-year-old Englishman signed a 2 1/2-year contract on Saturday, just a day after Mark Hughes was sacked for failing to deliver results despite an expensive overhaul of the squad.

"The players have to be at it -- the buck stops with them," Redknapp said. "I know Mark lost his job, but it's down to the players. He could only do what he could do. The players have not performed to their potential.

"There are some good players here and they really need to step up and start performing. They are man enough to know they're to blame for the position we are in."

QPR has four points from 13 matches after a 3-1 loss Saturday at Manchester United, when Redknapp watched from the stands as assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki took charge.

"We are rock bottom," Redknapp told British broadcaster Sky Sports. "We have to try and get up that table."

Redknapp has been tasked with performing the same rescue act that was so successful at Tottenham.

He took the north London club from bottom place when he took over in 2008 into the Champions League in 2010 before being fired in June despite finishing fourth for the second straight season.

QPR is now in the same position as Tottenham was in October 2008 -- four points adrift at the bottom of the standings.

"Tottenham were not in a real relegation battle when I took over despite having two points at the time, they had been underachieving," Redknapp told the BBC. "This is a tougher one."

But chairman Tony Fernandes is sure Redknapp has the acumen to keep QPR in the top flight after the team only survived on the last day of last season.

"He has a proven track record in the Premier League and has all the characteristics we were looking for to get us out of the current situation we find ourselves in," Fernandes said.

Fernandes signed 11 new players in the summer transfer window on big salaries, including Park Ji-sung from Manchester United, Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea and Julio Cesar from Inter Milan, but they have failed to gel.

"His man-management skills are second to none and we are confident he is the right man to lead us away from the bottom of the table," Fernandes said.

Redknapp started in management at Bournemouth in 1983, taking the south-coast team into the second tier and memorably knocking Manchester United out of the 1984 FA Cup.

After leaving Bournemouth in 1992, a strong seven-year stint with West Ham followed before six years at Portsmouth, interrupted by a short-lived and controversial move to local rival Southampton.

It was at Portsmouth where Redknapp's stock soared by leading the team in 2008 to its first FA Cup triumph in 69 years before being enticed to Tottenham.

At White Hart Lane, Redknapp took Tottenham into the Champions League for the first time. But Tottenham's failure to rejoin Europe's elite appears to have ultimately cost Redknapp his job despite another fourth-place finish in May for a club that hasn't won the English title since 1961.

Redknapp had been expecting to be appointed England manager in May, but lost out to Roy Hodgson after Fabio Capello stepped down.

Now Redknapp is taking charge of his fifth Premier League club.

"We believe we have a manager, with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives," Fernandes said.