QPR completes hiring of Redknapp as manager

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Queens Park Rangers\' new manager Harry Redknapp takes a seat in the stands before his team\'s English Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Nov. 24, 2012. The 65-year-old Englishman signed a 2 1/2-year contract on Saturday, just a day after Mark Hughes was sacked for failing to deliver results despite an expensive overhaul of the squad. (AP Photo/Jon Super)


LONDON (AP) — Harry Redknapp made a strident start as Queens Park Rangers manager on Saturday, blaming the players for the London club's winless, last-place status in the Premier League.

The 65-year-old Englishman signed a 2 1/2-year contract, a day after Mark Hughes was fired.

"The players have to be at it — the buck stops with them," Redknapp said. "I know Mark lost his job, but it's down to the players. He could only do what he could do. The players have not performed to their potential.

"There are some good players here and they really need to step up and start performing. They are man enough to know they're to blame for the position we are in."

QPR has four points from 13 matches after a 3-1 loss Saturday at Manchester United, when Redknapp watched from the stands as assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki took charge.

"We are rock bottom," Redknapp told British broadcaster Sky Sports. "We have to try and get up that table."

Redknapp took Tottenham from last place when he took over in 2008 into the Champions League in 2010. He was fired in June after finishing fourth for the second straight season.

QPR is now in the same position as Tottenham was in October 2008 — four points from getting out of the relegation zone.

"Tottenham were not in a real relegation battle when I took over despite having two points at the time, they had been underachieving," Redknapp told the BBC. "This is a tougher one."

Chairman Tony Fernandes is sure Redknapp has the acumen to keep QPR in the top division after the team survived on the last day of last season.

"He has a proven track record in the Premier League and has all the characteristics we were looking for to get us out of the current situation we find ourselves in," Fernandes said.

Fernandes signed 11 new players in the summer transfer window, including Park Ji-sung from Manchester United, Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea and Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.

"His man-management skills are second to none, and we are confident he is the right man to lead us away from the bottom of the table," Fernandes said.

Redknapp started in management at Bournemouth in 1983, taking the south-coast team into the second tier and memorably knocking Manchester United out of the 1984 FA Cup.

After leaving Bournemouth in 1992, a strong seven-year stint with West Ham followed before six years at Portsmouth, interrupted by a short-lived and controversial move to local rival Southampton.

It was at Portsmouth where Redknapp's stock soared by leading the team in 2008 to its first FA Cup triumph in 69 years.

Redknapp had been expecting to be appointed England manager in May, but lost out to Roy Hodgson after Fabio Capello stepped down.