Football: QPR are back in with a chance of Premier League survival, but manager Harry Redknapp wasn’t smiling after this vital victory on the south coast.
He had awoken to newspaper reports on Saturday, claiming his side’s recent training trip to Dubai had turned into a boozy “stag do” full of unprofessional behaviour.
The newspaper in question reported quotes from a group of unnamed first-team players, who apparently spoke at length about the lack of team unity at the club and big divisions in the dressing room.
But Redknapp slammed those reports and claimed the story was the work of an agent trying to harm QPR.
“This story has come from somebody trying to disrupt the football club,” Redknapp fumed.
“I know exactly who it is and I know his reasons for doing it. The chairman knows, I know, (chief executive) Philip Beard knows, so it’s not come from the players, it’s come from a football agent.
“It’s an absolute load of nonsense. There were six or seven teams in Dubai, two teams went out there and never trained. We trained every day. We didn’t have one day off.
“On the Tuesday the sports scientist came to me and said: ‘They shouldn’t train tomorrow,’ and I said: ‘No, doc, we’re here to train every day.’
“I had them on their knees, I worked them that hard. I gave them one night when they could go out and, when they went out, they told me there was five other teams out too — why has no-one wrote about the other teams?”
Judging by the performance on the pitch, the recent trip to Dubai has worked wonders. Since returning from the camp Rangers were, admittedly, outclassed by Manchester United last weekend but looked a stronger unit here.
Loïc Remy gave the Hoops the lead with 14 minutes played, scoring his second goal since joining from Marseille with only his third shot. Saints hit back through Gaston Ramirez just before half-time, but Jay Bothroyd’s winner 13 minutes from time gave the visitors just their third league win of the season.
Redknapp revealed that he used the morning reports to fire up his side ahead of the Saints fixture.
“The players were disgusted with it,” he added. “I called them in and they couldn’t believe it. Today I told the players to put in a performance to show people and that’s what they did.”