Harry Redknapp has vowed to axe any Queens Park Rangers player who does not pull his weight as he faces up to the “toughest” challenge of his managerial career.
Meanwhile, Joe Jordan appears to be out of the running for the vacant Scotland manager’s job as he looks set to join the coaching staff at Loftus Road.
Redknapp has only been in the Loftus Road hotseat for two days but it took him little time to assess what had led his new side to make the worst start to a season in Barclays Premier League history.
The man who rescued Tottenham and Portsmouth from relegation said: “We’ve got four points from 13 games, which is an incredible, low total. We’ve got to do better to give ourselves an opportunity to get out of this mess. I need people that are going to work.
“When they lose the ball, chase it. It’s what you learned when you were at school. That’s what you did in the playground. I need 11 people with the ability to put effort in. If they give that effort, then we’ve got a chance of surviving. If they don’t, they’re not going to play to start with and I’ll find another 11 who will run about and work hard.
“I’ve got no time for people losing the ball and throwing their arms in the air, and standing around with their hands on their hips. We’re in a relegation battle, we’ve got four points. It’s their fault, nobody else’s fault. If everyone works, the ability’s there. I’ve got to make them work and get the best out of them now. If they do that then we’ll be okay, we’ll survive.”
Spurs and Portsmouth were also in dire trouble when Redknapp took charge and he transformed both club’s fortunes in spectacular fashion. But he said ahead of his first game in charge against Sunderland tonight: “We mustn’t kid ourselves. This is much tougher than those two jobs in my opinion, but I’m optimistic we can pull it off.”
Redknapp was set to be reunited with former assistants Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond after revealing QPR’s board were close to agreeing a deal to bring them on board. He added of his new bosses, who sacked Mark Hughes on Friday: “They don’t deserve to be where they are because they have put so much in during the summer. They brought loads of players in. They’ve done so much work on this training ground, they’ve invested, and they are nice people. That, for me, was important. I think they found it very hard last week to let Mark go, that’s for sure.”
Redknapp accepted there would be no “wholesale spending” in January after the club recruited extensively during the previous three transfer windows. But he admitted they were very short up front, with Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson both long-term injury victims.
On the possibility of signing midfield star David Beckham, he said: “I got a lovely text from David the other night, just wishing me well here. To have him at any football club would be a great influence on the club, but we’ve not discussed anything.”
Redknapp has also been linked with Michael Dawson, who came close to joining QPR in the summer. “Michael’s a top player,” he said, before insisting adding to his squad in January was the last thing on his mind. “There are so many games between now and then. If we don’t pick some points up, what’s the point of loaning players or buying players?”