There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for Queens Park Rangers after the worst start to a season by any club in Premier League history.
QPR went into Saturday’s home clash with London rivals Fulham favourites for relegation in the Premier League odds and desperate to end a run of 16 games without a win at the beginning of the 2012-2013 campaign. Inspired by Adel Taarabt, the Rs finally got their season underway.
The Moroccan playmaker scored both goals in the 2-1 win and displayed the quality so evident in QPR’s promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago. His match-winning showing, described by Harry Redknapp as “one of the all-time great performances”, lifted the Hoops from bottom spot.
The QPR boss, who likened Taarabt to Paolo Di Canio, feels the 23-year-old has matured since he sold him while in charge of Tottenham Hotspur in 2009.
“When he used to come back and see his mates at Tottenham I used to say: ‘You are making me look a fool Adel, you are worth £20million now and I sold you too cheap’,” said Redknapp.
“He’s grown up a bit now, he’s better than he was. He was a complete fruitcake at Tottenham.”
QPR have shown signs of life since Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes in November. They are unbeaten in four league matches and have moved from four points to 10, just five points from safety.
The experienced manager will be determined to push on during the festive period, with back-to-back matches against two out-of-form sides, in Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, representing an opportunity for points.
QPR look set to be without Taarabt next month, when he is likely to represent his country at the Africa Cup of Nations. Redknapp will be hoping others can step up in his absence.
The west London club have splashed the cash since reaching the Premier League but chairman Tony Fernandes has yet to see a return on his investment. A team with the likes of Djibril Cisse, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephane M’Bia should be capable of avoiding a relegation scrap.
Redknapp’s encouraging start as boss could tempt Fernandes to dip into his pocket once more in January. However, both men will want to see more from the current squad. Taarabt has shown the way, it is up to the rest to follow his lead.