x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Relegation-bound QPR may have lost chance to turn tide

QPR are the 15th side in league history to take 10 points or fewer from their first 20 games of the season. None of the other 14 survived relegation.

Prospects of survival are all looking down for QPR players. PA
Prospects of survival are all looking down for QPR players. PA

Harry Redknapp spent Sunday evening bullishly insisting that the Queens Park Rangers will stay up, but really, what else can he do?

The fact is that the team fourth from the bottom has amassed 80 per cent more points than QPR with just over half the season gone.

If QPR are to survive, they will need to produce the form of a top-eight team over the remaining 18 games and there is little sign of them being able to do that. QPR are the 15th side in league history to take 10 points or fewer from their first 20 games of the season. None of the other 14 survived relegation.

Only three of the last 20 teams to have gone into the New Year at the bottom of the table have scrapped their way to safety.

But what is most worrying is the seeming lack of fight in this QPR team.

Their summer transfer activity is a textbook example of how accumulating a number of highly paid gifted players is not the same as putting together a team.

That is not Redknapp's fault, of course, even if fans of some clubs he has managed in the past must appreciate the irony of him reaping the dismal harvest of somebody else's spending. He inherited a shambles and, briefly, seemed to be putting it right.

His first three games brought draws, and his fourth, at last, a first win of the season. Three successive defeats, though, have killed any sense of momentum.

What is worse is that looking at the fixture list, the last seven games - five against teams in the bottom eight, then two home matches against inconsistent mid-table sides - was where points had to be gathered.

QPR's next seven games, beginning at Chelsea tomorrow, see them play only the top four. It will take something remarkable for them to still be in touch come the end of February.

Last season, QPR came from 2-0 down to beat Liverpool on their march to safety.

On Sunday that could have provided inspiration, but instead it provided a bleak contrast to the grimness of QPR's display.

Defend insipidly and Luis Suarez will score; it is not difficult. However ill-advised the summer signings, however imbalanced the squad, there is little excuse for such laxity. Morale has gone and QPR look doomed.

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