QPR forward Adel Taarabt has hit back at manager Harry Redknapp over claims that he is overweight and unfit to play.
Redknapp launched an attack on the Morocco international after QPR’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, claiming Taarabt was “not fit to play football”, adding, “I can’t keep protecting people who don’t want to run about and train, who are about three stone overweight”.
But Taarabt has deepened the rift with his manager by claiming that Redknapp does not even regularly take training sessions, and then posing shirtless in a photoshoot in order to deny the suggestion he is out of shape.
“I am a professional – this is not about retaliation, this is about protecting my reputation,” Taarabt said in the Daily Mail. “I played in that reserve game for 90 minutes and if he didn’t think I was running he could have taken me off. Maybe I didn’t perform like I could because it was a reserve team game and I was protecting myself...
“My job is to create, bring goals to the team. Maybe he expects me to make more tackles. I am not this type of player. I can only get fitness playing Premier League. You can train six or seven hours, but you won’t be fit.”
Taarabt has made three appearances for the club this season after finishing the last campaign on loan at AC Milan, and has no qualms about criticising the way in which the under-pressure Redknapp is managing the team.
“The training sessions aren’t the same standard as Milan, or what I would expect under another manager,” he said. “They are not as intense, the players aren’t as motivated. It is the same as we used to do at Tottenham years ago. When we played West Ham he told the players ”you’re not fit, you’re not this, you’re not that“.
“I said ’but the problem is we don’t have any plan in the game, we don’t know how to press as a team. It’s not about just running around, you need to play with your brain’...
“After West Ham he said all of the team is not fit. After Liverpool, because the performance was so good, he said everything was perfect – what, in one week, he changed the fitness? Impossible.”