Why can’t QPR win away from Loftus Road? Redknapp has questions to answer

QPR manager Harry Redknapp.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

For a man who felt he should have been given the job as England manager ahead of Roy Hodgson, you would have thought Harry Redknapp would have masterminded an away point at this stage of the Premier League season.

QPR defender Rio Ferdinand.

QPR defender Rio Ferdinand. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The 2-1 defeat at Burnley on Saturday was the 10th straight away defeat of the season and, if you throw in the League Cup defeat at Burton Albion in August, it’s fair to say it’s well beyond a joke.

After the latest defeat at Turf Moor, Redknapp had his excuses ready – as he always does. “It’s hard to win away,” he said.

It isn’t easy, for sure, especially when you’ve just been promoted – but why has everyone else in the division managed it?

Mark Hughes still takes flak from some QPR fans, who blame him for the Rs’ relegation in 2013.

QPR defender Armand Traore (right) attempts to keep up with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

QPR defender Armand Traore (right) attempts to keep up with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

‘Rubbish’ and ‘useless’ are two of the kinder words you’ll hear uttered about the Welshman.

The funny thing is, for a boss who is said to be the reason why QPR went down, he’s the only Premier League manager who has taken a team to champions Manchester City and won this season.

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His Stoke side have also beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane, where QPR were ripped to shreds, conceding three goals in 30 minutes.

On that occasion Redknapp set his side up in the 3-5-2 system he was raving about to journalists in the build-up to the new season.

It had been used in the World Cup by the likes of Holland and Chile and Redknapp couldn’t wait to show the world how, under his guidance, it could work in the top flight with a newly-promoted team.

Redknapp stated that he’d used it before at West Ham and Portsmouth, and would have used it last season in the Championship but he didn’t have the players to make it work.

Clearly he felt his recruitment drive during the summer, which included Rio Ferdinand, now meant 3-5-2 was the way to go.

It backfired in spectacular fashion and, aside from the trip to Arsenal – when Ferdinand was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time since October – it hasn’t been used since Spurs.

The problem is that QPR bought players in the summer with Redknapp’s 3-5-2 formation in mind – and, now that he has switched to 4-4-2, a host of the players in his squad do not fit the system.

Armand Traore, who Redknapp decribed as “half a left-back and half a winger” in pre-season, was supposed to excel as a wing-back. But, shortly after a new two-year contract was agreed, Rangers accepted a bid from Crystal Palace, only for Traore to reject the move.

So poor were his performances that Redknapp finally called on Yun Suk-Young, who made the position his own until he was struck down with injury and ruled out for six weeks.

Clint Hill has filled in since and, while the 36-year-old will always give his best, his lack of pace is a constant issue against the quality of wide men he is facing.

Mauricio Isla, who was specifically brought in to play as a wing-back in the 3-5-2 system, is now having to play an unfamiliar role as a standard right-back.

It all smacks of trial and error and a general mess – particularly when you start with four central midfielders away at Newcastle – and this is a squad that Redknapp has had two years to put together. Predictably, he’ll probably want some more players now.

To win away from home you need to vary your tactics and QPR seem to be very short on those. There is a lack of pace throughout the squad, so hitting teams on the counter-attack is not an option. Who is to blame for that?

Redknapp is hailed as a great man manager and should rightly take credit for transforming Gareth Bale’s career at Spurs, but what has he done for Junior Hoilett, Matt Phillips, Jordan Mutch and Adel Taarabt – all creative players who should be making an impact and helping to decide tight games?

Given that they are not, again, Redknapp will probably want some more players.

The fact is, apart from Charlie Austin, his work in the transfer market has been very poor since he took charge in November 2012.

Signing an injury-prone Sandro from Spurs stank of desperation after failing to tempt either Steve Sidwell or Craig Bryson to the Rs.

Two of the best performers this season – Rob Green and Bobby Zamora – were signed by Hughes, and stand-in captain Joey Barton was a Neil Warnock signing.

It’s January so Redknapp wants a few more quid to spend, but if what he says is true he can only bring in players on loan – and he has already done so, snapping up Mauro Zarate from West Ham.

Rangers are well known for being one of the most active clubs during this particular window but, with chairman Tony Fernandes concentrating his energy on his AirAsia airline, Redknapp may well have to work with what he has.

Now we will see what kind of a manager he is – but you can bet that, if QPR go down, he will highlight a lack of funds in January.

It’s never his fault, you see.

Follow me on Twitter @RobBrennan82

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