QPR 1 Aston Villa 1
Now the hype has died down and the first home game has been and gone without a victory, the reality of this QPR job seems to have finally hit Harry Redknapp.
And worryingly for the new man, a team that badly needs a win doesn’t have many actual match-winners. “It’s a problem,” Redknapp admitted after his team’s frustrating 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. “We are short of goals. We relied on Jamie (Mackie). You’ve got Adel (Taarabt) and Shaun Wright-Phillips, but we are not overloaded with goalscorers at the club. That’s obvious.”
What is also obvious is that Redknapp will now go and sign some strikers in January, putting into perspective his fanciful midweek comments that he may not make any moves in the transfer window.
In many ways, though, the QPR manager’s real work also starts now. Because, all week, it felt as if he would only have to surf the waves of momentum from his appointment to win this game. In that, it was also something of an all-or-nothing situation. Win, and it would’ve been as if all was OK.
As he said himself, “we just need something to fall for us, to get that goal, and then it’s lift-off.”
It seemed so perfectly set up too against their fellow strugglers. But within eight minutes Villa had taken the lead. Brett Holman fed off Ashley Westwood’s fine work in the centre to shift his feet and fire past Rob Green from outside the box.
“It was important to quieten them,” the Villa goalscorer said afterwards. “We were aware of all the stuff that was going on and the crowd was buzzing. It gave us a boost to go 1-0 up. It was good to silence them a little bit.”
Whereas the new QPR manager has been dropped into a situation that sees him take charge of a team with a certain amount of Premier League quality but little actual shape or design, Lambert is attempting to almost organically develop a young side.
“They train the way they play and that’s important,” the Villa manager said of his team. “I don’t think you can go from the training pitch and think you can turn it on and off like a switch. They have been excellent.”
QPR would equalise — Mackie levelling on 18 minutes and had Shaun Wright-Phillips, Clint Hill and Park Ji-Sung been less unlucky — each hitting the upright, it could have been different.
QPR: Green; Bosingwa, Nelsen, Hill, Traore; Diakite (Hoilett 69), Mbia (Derry 39), Granero (Park 45); Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Taarabt
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker; Lichaj, Westwood, Bannan (Delph 67), Herd (Williams 66), Holman (El Ahmadi 71); Agbonlahor, Benteke
Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)
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