Chelsea came in to the game off the back of four Premier League victories but Shaun Wright-Phillips's late goal inflicted the first league loss at home to the team from Loftus Road since Easter 1983, and although we did have chances to score in the game, the clear openings created in recent weeks were in short supply.
Benitez changed one member of his defence for the match, bringing in Ryan Bertrand for Ashley Cole. A goalkeeper switch was forced on him by injury and he rotated the three players behind lone striker Fernando Torres with Oscar and Victor Moses coming in, plus Marko Marin to start his first league game.
'We were doing well and we had confidence we could carry on doing well,' said Benitez as he reflected on the Christmas and New Year games.
'We changed some players but from those only Marko Marin was not playing regularly. In the last games Moses had been playing, Oscar has been playing too. You could see that some players were a little bit tired, we were not precise in possession, we were not passing the ball with the accuracy and the high tempo we were expecting, and at the end we made a mistake and we gave them this chance - too many things together that were not working for us.
'QPR were sitting deep and they were waiting, and for them it was just to play counter attack and maybe a set piece - and that was the difference in the end.
'We can't carry on with the same players every game. If you are playing against a team that is bottom of the table at home then you have to trust your players and I trust them.
'I thought they were doing well and I thought that would be fine, but maybe in odd areas we were tired. You could see we didn't have the intensity and the pace on the pass and the movement that we were expecting.'
On not being able to rotate Fernando Torres and reports that Newcastle striker Demba Ba is about the sign for Chelsea…'Torres is one of two or three players who have been playing too many games in the last weeks or months. We were trying to manage the squad every game with two or three players changing and it was going well, but against QPR it was not working.
'I don't have any official information [about Demba Ba]. I know [Newcastle manager] Alan Pardew has been talking and there are a lot of rumours but officially he is not our player. If we can do the business I hope he could be available for the weekend.
'I don't want to talk about names but if you have another striker then if you need to play with two strikers then you can do that, or if you want to rest a striker you can do it. We are a little bit short.'
On Petr Cech's groin injury and John Terry's recovery…
'The doctors said Cech will be out for two or three weeks. We are quite optimistic.
'John can do the warm up in training with the team soon and then we will see how he progresses, but I can't give any date. He has a bone oedema, some bruising, so you can't say how long it will take.' Chelsea
A clip of Rafael Benitez's post-match interview with Chelsea TV can be viewed above and the full interview will be available via the channel's online access. Chelsea
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MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 0 QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1
Chelsea succumbed to a first home defeat against neighbours Queens Park Rangers since 1983, thanks to a late goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
After a stale first half, Chelsea came out hungrier in the second period and more than once looked like opening the scoring, only for a sucker punch from former Blue Wright-Phillips, who had been introduced as a first-half sub.
Chances fell to Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic in particular, but found visiting goalkeeper Julio Cesar in top form, and our visitors a more defiant opposition than they have been in recent months.
The result leaves us in fourth place, still a point adrift of third-placed Spurs, but with a game in hand.
Petr Cech was missing for the first time in the Barclays Premier League this season due to the injury sustained at Everton on Sunday, so his deputy Ross Turnbull was in his place.
Elsewhere Rafael Benitez opted to rotate with Marko Marin starting his first league match since arriving in the summer, and he was joined in the starting 11 by Oscar, with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard rested.
Matchwinner at the weekend Frank Lampard continued alongside David Luiz in midfield, knowing a goal would bring him level with Kerry Dixon, second in the all-time Chelsea scoring charts.
Visitors QPR also made changes. Junior Hoilett came In for Djibril Cisse and Fabio in at full-back. Wright-Phillips dropped to the bench.
Marin's first contribution was to pick up an early yellow card for a late tackle on Rangers' Stephane Mbia, who would not be the last player in the wars in a fiercely contested opening period.
Hoilett was forced off after just 15 minutes, replaced by Wright-Phillips, while shortly afterwards David Luiz, who to that point had taken the game's only meaningful effort, volleying narrowly over, clattered into his own team-mate Oscar inside the centre-circle, with the younger Brazilian requiring treatment from Chelsea medical staff.
Once recovered, Oscar shot wide from distance, while Marin bent over from the edge of the box as Chelsea looked the more threatening side, though without a real chance to speak of in the opening half-hour.
Oscar caught a decent sight of goal inside the area when Marin slipped him in, but his curling effort was deflected wide by the head of Clint Hill.
On rare forays out of their half, QPR had seen Wright-Phillips twice scuff wide with unlikely efforts, but were otherwise struggling to leave their half, the mercurial Adel Taarabt suffering near anonymity at the front of their formation.
Two minutes beforethe break, Julio Cesar was forced into his first save, knocking another deflected Oscar effort away with his feet, before seeing Victor Moses fire the follow-up over from 18 yards.
The game could not really have got any worse at half-time, but it picked up quickly and Chelsea almost took the lead three minutes after the break.
Marin twisted and turned his way in from the left and squared across a crowded penalty area, where Moses just failed to make a true enough connection to put his side in front.
Moments later Lampard was crowded out as he was about to pull the trigger, but you sensed an opening goal may not be far away, with corner after corner beginning to come our way. Ivanovic headed over, via the crossbar, from Marin's centre and then Torres was denied at point-blank range by a flying Cesar.
QPR's first effort on target came two minutes before the hour mark, when Esteban Granero, following intelligent build-up from Wright-Phillips and Taarabt, whipped an effort towards Turnbull's far post. Alert and nimble, the goalkeeper was able to hold the well-struck shot.
Turnbull was quick off his line again, but needed the help of Gary Cahill to intervene after Taarabt's deft backheel put Jamie Mackie in on goal, and then Shaun Derry sent a free header straight at the goalkeeper as his big night came to life.
On 66 minutes Chelsea thought the breakthrough had been made. Moses had seen his powerful drive deflected wide, and from the resultant corner, the ball fell loose to Lampard, who sent an unstoppable half-volley into the bottom corner. The linesman's flag was already raised though, and the wait went on.
With Mata on for Moses, a goal seemed more likely than ever, and it came, but not where it was expected.
A QPR corner fell to Taarabt outside the Chelsea box, and another neat touch from him knocked the ball down to Wright-Phillips, whose low drive into the bottom corner would have beaten any goalkeeper. It was the best of the little winger, and quality all too rarely seen during his Stamford Bridge days. He did not celebrate the goal, his first in the league since May 2010, which set his side up for their first away win of the season.
Desperate for an equaliser, Chelsea piled forward, and it was Ivanovic who drew the foul from Hill 20 yards from goal.David Luiz took the shot, but it was straight into a densely-populated QPR wall.
A minute from time, the Serbian met Mata's cross and it looked for all the world like a goal, but the ball flew just over the bar, consigning us to a first league defeat in a month, and the worst possible start to 2013.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand; David Luiz, Lampard (c) (Ramires 78); Marin (Hazard 59), Oscar, Moses (Mata 74); Torres
Unused subs Hilario,Ferreira, Cole, Piazon.
Booked Marin 3
QPR (4-1-4-1): Julio Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill (c), Fabio; Derry; Mackie, Granero (Park 89), Mbia, Hoilett (Wright-Phillips 15);
Taarabt (Dyer 90+2)
Unused subs Green, Ferdinand, Faurlin, Cissé.
Goals Wright-Phillips 78
Booked Hill 85
Referee Lee Mason
Crowd 41,634 Chelsea
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REDKNAPP: ONE OF THE BEST
R's boss hails Chelsea victory as one of his finest ...
Everybody probably thought I was mad when I said we could stay up but I genuinely believe we can turn it around. Tonight has proved that."
QPR BOSS Harry Redknapp hailed victory at neighbours Chelsea as one of the finest moments of his managerial career.
Shaun Wright-Phillips’ first league goal in a Hoops shirt secured a historic win at Stamford Bridge as the R’s made a dream start to 2013
The visitors went into Wednesday night’s derby as rank outsiders and Redknapp believes the result proves Rangers can beat the drop.
“I can’t remember having many better wins than this,” a delighted R’s manager told www.qpr.co.uk at full time.
“Chelsea are absolutely flying at the moment and, on the back of our defeats against Liverpool and West Brom, it was a great result for us.”
The final whistle sparked jubilation amongst the visiting players and travelling Rangers faithful, as the club celebrated its first away win since November 2011.
Despite lying bottom of the table prior to kick-off, Redknapp had insisted Rangers could claw their way out of trouble and Wednesday night’s heroics has only reaffirmed his prediction.
“Everybody probably thought I was mad when I said we could stay up after the Liverpool game but I genuinely believe we can turn it around,” he said.
“Tonight has proved that.
“It’s our first away win so let’s hope we can build on it.
“There’s still a long way to go but that [result] was encouraging.”
Redknapp praised the work-rate of his players as well as the performance of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, whose clean sheet between the sticks proved vital.
“Our ‘keeper was different class tonight,” he said. “He gave us the feeling he was never going to get beat.
“The most important thing was everybody worked hard.
“If we work hard for the rest of the season we’ll give ourselves a chance.” QPR
Dave McIntyre/West London Sport
Redknapp: QPR’s triumph will worry rivals
Harry Redknapp believes QPR’s shock win at Chelsea will send a chilling message to the Premier League’s other struggling teams – and could convince players to move to Loftus Road.
Boss Redknapp admitted the recent drubbing at home to Liverpool may have deterred prospective signings, including Joe Cole, from joining Rangers.
Wright-Phillips scored against his former club.
That defeat made the 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge – QPR’s first away win since November 2011 and first league triumph at Chelsea since 1983 – all the more remarkable.
“I don’t think I’ve had many better wins than that, especially coming off the back of the Liverpool game” Redknapp declared.
“Suddenly people will think ‘Maybe they have got a chance and it would be nice to go there and achieve something rather than go to a middle-of-the-road club’.
“Even teams with 20 points will be going ‘Oh my God – that aint very good’. I’ve been there. It will send shocks through them.
“We’ve got to build on it. If you graft you’ll win games and you’ll win away. There’s a long way to go but that was encouraging.” West London Sport
Harry Redknapp says QPR's shock win at Chelsea shows they can stay up
• Rangers manager hails one of his best ever results
• Rafael Benítez all but writes off winning title after defeat
Harry Redknapp reflected on one of the finest and most exhilarating results of his long career as his Queens Park Rangers team beatChelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to fire their hopes of avoiding relegation and possibly deal the fatal blow to their west London rivals' hopes of winning the Premier League title
QPR had not won at Chelsea for 30 years and the last time they beat Chelsea by this scoreline in the league was in October 2011 – an occasion that would change the landscape of English football. John Terry's racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand was the prompt for a sequence of events that saw England lose their captain and their manager, and the magistrates court and a Football Association commission become involved.
This result will not have the same wrecking ball capacity but Redknapp hopes that it could serve as the touchstone for his club climbing off the bottom of the table to safety and Rafael Benítez, his Chelsea counterpart, all but admitted that the title had moved out of reach. "We have to do everything almost perfect now if we're going to reduce it back," Benítez said.
Redknapp's emotions contrasted sharply. "I said to Joe Jordan [the QPR assistant manager] that I can't remember having many better wins than this one," he said. "To come here against a team who are absolutely flying and on the back of our losses to Liverpool and West Brom ... it was just a great result.
"You hope this can be a turning point. It is the first away win [in 24 league matches] so let's hope we can build on that. There is still a long way to go but it is encouraging. We had a good meeting after the Liverpool game on Sunday. I think I convinced the players that we can stay up.
"I said that on Sunday and everybody probably thought I was mad. But I didn't go home thinking we were doomed and 'What have I done here?' We can turn it around ... get this lot working and improve the squad in the window and we can give ourselves a chance. Tonight has proved that."
Benítez highlighted the strain on his squad, who have had to play the busy festive programme on the back of their trip to Japan last month to contest the Club World Cup. He defended his policy of rotation, as he reported that the goalkeeper, Petr Cech, would be out for "two to three weeks" with a groin injury and the captain, Terry, had no return date because of the bone bruising to the knee.
"You could see that some players were a little bit tired," Benítez said. "We were not precise with our passing and didn't play with the high tempo we were expecting. At the end we made a mistake and gave them a chance. There were many things that were not working for us.
"I have no regrets about my selection. In the last few games [Victor] Moses and Oscar were playing, so it was just Marko Marin who was the difference for this game. We cannot keep playing with the same players every game. And if you're playing the team at the bottom of the table at home, you have to trust your players. I trust them and thought it would be fine.
"We were worried about being tired, which was the reason we put out some fresh legs to keep the tempo of the game. But QPR were deep, they were waiting to play counter-attack and we couldn't keep the tempo. It's difficult for us now as we're playing so many games with a small group of players. You could say today that they couldn't get to the right level."
The final word went to Redknapp, who is determined to build the kind of momentum at QPR that helped him lead Portsmouth, one of his former clubs, to Premier League survival in 2006.
"When you are sitting at home tonight, even the teams with 20 points, they have gone 'This result ain't very good for us,'" Redknapp said. "I have been there. That has sent a few shocks to everybody. We have got to make the most of it. The atmosphere afterwards was fantastic. We have got to build on that now." Guardian
Shaun Wright-Phillips gives QPR fresh hope of survival with only goal in 1-0 victory over Chelsea
This was a crazy, unbelievable, historic occasion. The last time Queens Park Rangers won at Chelsea in the top division Gloria Gaynor was No 1 with I Will Survive.
It was in March 1979 and, whisper this around joyous Rs fans this morning, a good team containing Glenn Roeder, Stan Bowles, Paul Goddard and Gerry Francis still failed to survive, going down.
QPR are still five points adrift of safety but they have given themselves hope, not simply with the three points but with the disciplined, determined performance. They outwitted the champions of Europe. “Can we play you every week?’’ inquired the 2,800 visiting fans as the home sections of Stamford Bridge emptied speedily after the final whistle.
It was a bit-player in Chelsea’s history who inflicted the damage.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, who played at the Bridge from 2005 to 2008, struck the coolest of winners, his first league goal in 969 days, to engineer the most unlikely of results. It was a reminder of the Premier League’s frequent, absorbing unpredictability.
This was a win rooted in the game plan of Harry Redknapp, enjoying his first victory at the Bridge since March 1999, and his players’ commitment and sense of collectivity. QPR were unrecognisable from the side so shambolic when vanquished by Liverpool at Loftus Road on Sunday.
Redknapp’s players gave everything, from the commanding Júlio César in goal to the redoubtable sentries Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen at centre-back through the combative Shaun Derry shielding the back four to the tireless Jamie Mackie out wide and, arguably most surprisingly, the lone frontrunner Adel Taarabt.
Not a natural target-man, Taarabt proved an intelligent, willing outlet, frequently concerning David Luiz in deep midfield and the two Chelsea centre-halves Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic. When Wright-Phillips arrived, for the hamstrung Junior Hoilett, QPR had another outlet and, 13 minutes from time, a match-winner.
A further influence was QPR’s support, who kept backing their team passionately. Ten minutes after the game finished, they were singing the praises of “Harry Redknapp” and, in an attempt to wind up the few remaining Chelsea punters, “Rafa Benítez”.
Chelsea fans will debate long and critically their interim first-team manager’s decision to start stars like Eden Hazard and particularly Juan Mata on the bench. Benítez argued afterwards that rotation was necessary to prevent tiredness creeping in. Yet Chelsea’s next Premier League test is not until Jan 12 (they have FA Cup and Capital One Cup duties before then). Benítez, in fairness, was not helped by Fernando Torres delivering one of his most anonymous performances. Demba Ba’s arrival will be timely.
Benítez had given a chance to the likes of Marko Marin, whose desire to make an impact took on a juddering significance after three minutes when he over-ran the ball and launched himself at Stéphane Mbia in an attempt to win it back. It was high, late and dangerous and demanded a red card. Lee Mason somehow deemed it worthy only of a yellow.
Chelsea’s changes inevitably affected their usual rhythm. They missed Mata’s guile and the trickery of Hazard until midway through the second half. The champions of Europe needed some more subtlety to break down the massed ranks of the Premier League’s bottom-placed side.
The first half was poor. With little football to sing about, Chelsea fans resorted to taunting their relegation-threatened neighbours with chants of “We’ll never play you again” and “Jose Bosingwa”, a salute to their former full-back who upset Redknapp by refusing to sit on the bench against Fulham on Dec 15.
Chelsea enjoyed fleeting moments of promise in an impoverished first half. David Luiz shot over. Oscar had a shot diverted to safety by Hill. A Marin cross was headed away by Fabio. The half continued to subside towards the break like a balloon deflating. Derry caught Marin, an act that did not perturb Mason. Ivanovic connected with a shot that startled a few in the upper tier of the Shed.
The fans were certainly emotionally engaged. When Ashley Cole emerged to warm up, QPR fans reminded him they had not forgotten the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand dispute. At half-time, the visiting contingent asked caustically as to the identity of the former Chelsea player being paraded around the pitch. “He won more medals at Chelsea than QPR have won in their history,’’ declared the Bridge announcer of Marvin Hinton.
The second half was an improvement. It had to be. Chelsea seemed briefly sharper. When Marin crossed, Victor Moses somehow failed from five yards. Ivanovic headed a corner over. César then made a magnificent save from Torres from eight yards.
QPR threatened on the counter. Esteban Granero’s curling shot was held by Ross Turnbull, deputising for the injured Petr Cech. Gary Cahill executed a sliding tackle to nick the ball from the feet of the bustling Mackie, who was through on goal.
Benítez sent on Hazard and then Mata but the substitute who decided matters was already on. Wright-Phillips was to strike. When Chelsea failed to clear properly, Taarabt took control. The Moroccan could have tried one of his little jinking runs, nipping into the box. Instead, he calmly and selflessly rolled the ball right to Wright-Phillips who scored with a fine low strike from 20 yards.
As the seconds ticked away, QPR fans beseeched their team to hold on.
With four minutes remaining, Ivanovic was fouled by Hill just outside the area. QPR’s wall was so big it almost needed planning permission.
Luiz could not find a way through the nine-man barricade. QPR stood firm. They need such resolve and discipline again and again now.
Chelsea 0 Queens Park Rangers 1: Harry Redknapp hopes his finest hour is Premier League turning point
By Chris Hatherall at Stamford Bridge
Harry Redknapp has won the FA Cup with Portsmouth and beaten AC Milan in the Champions League with Tottenham Hotspur; but he admits that turning over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge could probably top the lot.
Queens Park Rangers went into the match with one win in the Premier League all season and as favourites to be relegated, having reached the new year with just 10 points. So Redknapp was on a high after seeing his team cause the upset of the campaign.
“I said to Joe Jordan after the game I can’t remember having many better wins than this one,” Redknapp said. “To come here againstChelsea, who are absolutely flying at the moment, and on the back of our defeats against Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion was a great result for us. It was a good night.
“You hope that it is a turning point. It is our first away win since October 2011 so let’s hope we can build on it. It was very important. I genuinely believe we can stay up. If I get can get the squad working and improve the squad in the transfer window then we have a chance – tonight proved that.”
Redknapp believes the victory will not only improve QPR’s hopes of moving up the table – they are now level on points with Reading and only five behind Wigan and Southampton – but also increase his chances of persuading players to sign for the west London club, havingnarrowly missed out on Joe Cole on Wednesday.
“That’s important, very important,” he said. “I lost a player today I tried to sign who would have been my first signing. But Joe probably looked at it and thought, 'Harry, I love you but I don’t think you’re going to stay up.’ So he’s gone to the Hammers.
“I understand him. He grew up there. He’s going back home and I wish him all the success in the world. But this result sends a few shock waves around other clubs and we have to build on that. It might help in the transfer market, too. People suddenly think 'maybe they do have a chance’ and think it would be nice to go there, them get out of the mess and achieve something. We’ll see.”
Rafa Benítez defended his decision to rotate several big names. “We can’t carry on with the same players every game and if you are playing against a team at the bottom of the table you have to trust your players,” he said. “And I trust them. But you could see we were a little bit tired.” Telegraph
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