English Premiership

Redknapp won't give up hope

2013-04-06 12:23
Harry Redknapp (File)

London - QPR manager Harry Redknapp insists his side can still avoid relegation from the Premier League if they beat fellow strugglers Wigan in a crucial clash at Loftus Road on Sunday.

Redknapp's team are seven points adrift of safety in 19th place but can move to within four of Wigan, currently out of the bottom three on goal difference, with a victory.

The other side of the coin for QPR is the fear that defeat could see them faced with an almost insurmountable challenge to beat the drop.

Redknapp, keen to sending as bullish a pre-match message as possible, made it clear he wouldn't quit even if QPR are relegated, but the former Tottenham boss is determined to ensure that never becomes an issue.

"When I stop believing, the players will stop believing," he said. "If I send out the wrong message they'll down tools, thinking we've had it.

"I don't feel we've had it. I couldn't tell you the pleasure keeping QPR up would give me. It would be fantastic.

"We have to keep going - we've got to beat Wigan. There's nothing else for it, we have to beat them.

"Nothing else but a win would be any good to us. We need to win and keep winning. We need to win four or five games. It's a tall order, but not impossible."

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has indicated he intends to stand by Redknapp should the club be playing in the Championship next term and that is music to the manager's ears.

"It's up to the owners and the chairman if I stay on," Redknapp added. "I'm happy here, it's a good club with good people. I love it here. If Tony Fernandes wants me to stay I'll stay. I've not been one for moving around that much.

"If I could have four years at QPR I'd be delighted, but I'd have to be successful to stay here. If I can do well here I'd love to stay."

If QPR do manage to pull off an unlikely escape they will have to do so without former England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who has undergone surgery on an ankle injury and will not play again this season.

Meanwhile, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has argued that Sunday's game is not as significant as many people are making out.

Victory for the Latics could move them three points clear of the relegation zone should Aston Villa lose to Stoke on Saturday, but Martinez believes a win would be only part of their journey to safety.

"It is not a pivotal weekend," he said. "We are all set for the final eight games of the season and this period of eight games will be pivotal.

"QPR is not pivotal in that it will define our season. Instead it is one game in a period of games which allows you to win as many games as you can. And when you're in this position, the margins of error are very small.

"Away from home this year we have been strong - we've only had one defeat away in 2013.

"That will be tested against QPR and we must be ready for that. We're in the moment of the season where you need to reach your highest performance levels and we need to make sure we are as good as we can be on Sunday."

Callum McManaman is Wigan's only slight concern but the forward should be recovered from an ankle problem, while Martinez hopes top scorer Arouna Kone can add to his 10 league goals so far.

"He's a very important player for us and he's someone who has that knack of making the right decision to score a goal," Martinez added.

Read more on:    qpr  |  english premiership  |  harry redknapp  |  soccer

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