x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Redknapp loses Cesar but claims first point at QPR after draw with Sunderland

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar added to Harry Redknapp's challenge after suffering a groin tear as the new Queens Park Rangers manager watched his side secure a 0-0 draw against struggling Sunderland.

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp directs his players.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp directs his players.

Harry Redknapp has warned his Queens Park Rangers players not to be fooled by a solid start to his reign.

The new QPR manager claimed a point in his opening match in charge after holding Sunderland to a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light.

But with a trip to fellow strugglers Aston Villa awaiting them on Saturday, Redknapp has told his new charges they need to work as a team to have a chance of collecting their first win of the English Premier League season.

"You look at the position we are in - it's very, very difficult. But I can see there are some decent players there.

"We need to play as a team and be a team and if we can put them together and get them to work together, we have got a chance."

Redknapp's side could have taken all three points had home keeper Simon Mignolet not managed to keep out first-half efforts from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie, and then a third late on from substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips.

However, they needed Julio Cesar - who was replaced at half-time by Rob Green after suffering a groin tear - to deny Steven Fletcher in a night of heavy rain and wind on Wearside.

Green managed to push away a header from the Scotland striker on the 64th minute to keep the scores level and secure an opening point for the new coach.

Redknapp has already been linked with a lengthening list of potential transfer targets with onlookers anticipating a January spending spree, but in the meantime, he is concentrating only on the players he inherited from predecessor Mark Hughes.

He said: "You can only work with what you have got, can't you? I can't pluck anyone out of the air at the moment.

"You can't bring anybody in, you have just got to get the best out of the players who are here.

"It was a good point. We worked hard in training yesterday on how we were going to play, and I thought we got the best out of what we had, and you can't do anymore than that."

If Redknapp was able to look towards the weekend with a measure of confidence restored, opposite number Martin O'Neill cut a disconsolate figure on the touchline.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short watched the game from the stands, just days after the club was forced to deny rumours O'Neill had offered to quit.

"It was a rather frustrating evening, I think frustration would sum it up," said O'Neill afterwards.

"It was tough for us. Losing Cattermole so early on in the game disrupted us somewhat, but even so, that's a handicap you have to overcome.

"It was just a frustrating evening."

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