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Saturday, January 12, 2013

QPR Report Saturday: Today's QPR vs Tottenham Teams...Another QPR Coach...Redknapp on Tottenham and Remy Wouldn't Meet With Him...Taarabt Must Apologize...Park Still Club Captain?...Mbia Talks re "What Went Wrong"...Ugo Ukah and Paul Hart Flashbacks



- Reminder: EARLY Kick off today (12:45 GMT)
Today's Announced Teams

 QPR - Cesar, Hill, Onuoha, Nelsen, Da Silva, Mbia, Park, Derry, Taarabt, SWP, Mackie.   
SUBS - Green, Ferdinand, Cisse, Ben Haim, Faurlin, Bothroyd, Campbell. 

Tottenham  Lloris, Vertonghen, Lennon, Adebayor, Bale, Naughton, Defoe, Dembele, Dawson, Walker, Sandro.
SUBS Dempsey, Huddleston, Parker, Sigurdsson, Friedel, Assou-Ekotto, Caulker

Club captain Ji-Sung Park picks his five favourite goals - exclusively in The Inside’R’ - coming soon! #OutOnMonday pic.twitter.com/bvO9gUZj


Reuters - African Cup of Nations - Morocco demand Taarabt apology over coach insults
Morocco are demanding an apology from midfielder Adel Taarabt for insulting the national team coach, who left him out of the AfricanNations Cup.

The Queens Park Rangers midfielder was accused of disrespecting Rachid Taoussi in an exchange of text messages and Moroccan media following his omission from the tournament in South Africa, which starts next week.

"The Moroccan federation and its staff, the federal bureau seeks a written apology from the player," said a statement by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.

Taoussi dropped Taarabt last month, saying the player had refused to meet him or take any of his calls when the Morocco coach went to see key players on a European tour.

This followed Taarabt being dropped by the coach for his first match in charge in October, when he came into salvage the country's qualifying campaign for the Nations Cup.

Taarabt, described by QPR manager Harry Redknapp as a "bit of a fruitcake" and with a history of infuriating coaches with his antics, walked out on the Morocco side in 2011 when previous coach Eric Gerets benched him for a key Nations Cup qualifier.

He was recalled several months later after a series of profuse apologies.  Reuters

QPR Appoint Cotterill

Cotterill agrees short-term coaching role

THE CLUB can confirm Steve Cotterill has agreed a short-term deal to assist Harry Redknapp and his backroom team at QPR.
Forty-eight year-old Cotterill - who left his last managerial position at Nottingham Forest in the summer - will work alongside Redknapp, Assistant Manager Kevin Bond and First Team Coach Joe Jordan.  QPR

London 24 QPR Official Site

Redknapp explains Cotterill appointment

QPR manager Harry Redknapp believes former Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cotterill will allow him more time to speak to players.

The R’s brought in 48-year-old on a short-term contract today as part of Redknapp’s coaching staff.

“I’ve known Steve for a long time,” the manager said. “He lives down my way.

“I’ve talked to him a lot. He did a great job at Notts Forest. I spoke to Phil Beard about the possibility. I think he’s bright and has got something to offer.

“He gives you more of a chance to work with individuals and spend time with groups. I think you need as many people around as possible.

“I have no idea if he’ll move on. He’s pleased to be coming in. He’s pleased to be working.” London 24


Departure from Tottenham was political, says QPR's Harry Redknapp
• QPR manager says he is enjoying life at Loftus Road
• Redknapp: Spurs have a stronger squad than Arsenal

Harry Redknapp faces a tough battle in charge of QPR, who meet his former club Tottenham on Saturday. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP
At first Harry Redknapp feigns ignorance. "I have no idea, not a clue," he says with a shrug when asked why, last summer, the manager who had steered Tottenham Hotspur to fourth place in the Premier League arrived at a meeting with his chairman apparently hopeful of securing a new contract and departed shortly afterwards out of a job. Fast forward through an insistence that he bears no grudges, however, and an inkling of an explanation emerges. "I've got my own feelings about why things happened but it's difficult for me to say … It was political."

At some stage on Saturday afternoon, Redknapp may find himself contemplating the personal cost of those politics. The 65-year-old has flung himself wholeheartedly into his new role as manager of Queens Park Rangers but, with his current employers still wincing under the weight of the Premier League even after a win at Chelsea in their last outing, nothing will expose his rapid descent from the pursuit of the Champions League to an attempt to scramble clear of the drop to the Championship more acutely than Spurs' visit to Loftus Road.

Redknapp speaks glowingly of almost four years in north London, a period where he hoisted a team from the foot of the table into Europe's elite competition and two top-four finishes. His dismissal in June centred on the breakdown of his relationship with the chairman, Daniel Levy, and by extension Joe Lewis, the billionaire owner of Enic, the company who control the club. The manager's newly appointed agent, Paul Stretford, had sought a new four-year deal arguing security over his client's long-term future could be key to retaining the squad's better players. Yet the team's spluttering form over the season's final months, a period when most were unsettled by talk of the manager taking the England job, and Chelsea's success in winning the European Cup to oust Spurs from contention put paid to those ambitions.

The agent ended up negotiating a settlement for the remaining 12 months of the existing deal. "I went to see Daniel about signing a new contract and that was it, it ended with me leaving," Redknapp recalls. "That's life, isn't it. I was supposed to be getting the England job, then I didn't. It happens. And there were more important things happening in my life last year than that [a reference to his acquittal for tax evasion at Southwark crown court]. There are people out there with little kids suffering from leukemia so this is nothing, and what has actually happened to me? I had four great years there and got very well paid. I've now come to QPR, don't get so well paid but I'm here and I'm loving it.

"Daniel was the first on the phone to me when I got this job, wishing me all the best, and we spoke again on Thursday. That was just about players – I don't mix socially with him – but they've got a few there and I wanted to see if there was anyone we could use. Let's not kid ourselves. Daniel's not going to say: 'Good old Harry, let's help him out. I love QPR.' He isn't going to give us a special deal because it's me. He'll look to get whatever he thinks someone's value is, that's what he does. And January is his time of year. He'll be offering those 'three for one' deals, or buy one get one free, on the last day. That's how he works."

The transfer window has offered Redknapp a reminder of the differences between life at Spurs and Rangers, a contrast neatly encapsulated by his endearing interest in the Marseille striker Loïc Rémy. A year ago he had travelled to the Bouches-du-Rhône hopeful a deal could be struck with the player eager to move to Tottenham, only for the £22m price tag to scupper the move. Last weekend Redknapp was back at Stade Vélodrome hoping to entice the forward again. "But I couldn't even get a meeting with him," he said. "I just think he felt embarrassed coming to see me this time to say he wasn't interested in coming to QPR. But plenty see you at the bottom of the league and probably think … well, you know."

The same may be true of another target, Rennes's Yann M'Vila, even if making an impact in a successful Premier League fight against relegation can serve to elevate a player's profile. Spurs, of course, were operating in another market and still are. At the same stage last year Tottenham were third, as they are now under André Villas-Boas, though seven points better off and travelling to Manchester City very much involved in the title race. Matters unravelled thereafter, but the former manager recognises them as contenders these days. "I think they can win the league," he says. "They've got a stronger squad than Arsenal, and they're not far off Chelsea. They're a club who can keep improving and they'll go for it.

"I wouldn't have done any better than [Villas-Boas] has done. He's done a fantastic job, getting the best out of a great squad. Good luck to them – I hope they win the league one day. I'm not a jealous, bitter, twisted person about anybody. People have taken liberties with me in my life like you'd never believe but I forgive and forget and shake hands." Perhaps no explanation will be required. Redknapp has moved on" The Guardian


EXCLUSIVE: Mbia opens up about QPR's relegation plight: 'The players are to blame - we just didn't give our best under Hughes'

Stephane Mbia pulls no punches when asked who is to blame for the turmoil that has left Queens Park Rangers at the bottom of the Premier League.

‘Should the players feel guilty about Mark Hughes’ sacking? Yes, I think so,’ says Mbia.

‘He gave everything for everybody at this club. I think it’s the players’ fault. I think if the players had the same mentality under Mark Hughes they have now, we would not be in this position.

Taking responsibility: Stephane Mbia says QPR's players must take the blame for their position in the league

Talking a good game: Mbia chats with Sportsmail's Sami Mokbel

‘The manager was never the problem. Mark Hughes has quality, Harry Redknapp has quality.

‘Harry Redknapp gives the players confidence, but Mark Hughes is the same. But the players didn’t want to give their best for Mark Hughes.

‘I don’t know why it’s like that. We should have done the same when the previous manager was here. Maybe they are more afraid of Harry.’

Such honesty might not sit well with everyone at Loftus Road, but the 26-year-old Mbia is someone who cares. He is passionate about the game and his club. Even more so, given that only a few weeks ago he feared his career might be over.

Playing against Aston Villa on December 1, Mbia collided with Gabby Agbonlahor, whose elbow hit him in the neck. The midfielder lay motionless on the turf as a stunned silence fell over Loftus Road. Mbia feared he was paralysed.

Scrap: Mbia and QPR are in a battle to stay in the Premier League

‘I remember passing the ball and then trying to turn quickly, but I didn’t see the guy and I felt his elbow on my neck,’ he recalls.

‘I fell. I only had a small pain — but then I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t feel my legs. I thought my football career was over.

‘I was so scared because I’ve got kids and a wife. I thought football was finished for me. I was crying, that was a difficult moment.

Religious man: Mbia wears a t-shirt thanking God

‘Thank God it is OK now. That was the first time I have had anything like that, I was so worried.’

Fifteen minutes later as he was being rushed to hospital he began to get some feeling back into his legs. Later he was able to tell his 21,000-plus Twitter followers he was fine.

So fine, in fact, that he made a miraculous recovery to play for QPR in the 2-2 draw at Wigan just seven days later.

But once you spend some time with this larger-than-life character, you understand why the game means everything to a player who admits that, as a boy, he stole his first football.

From a humble upbringing in his native Cameroon, Mbia’s life has been a roller-coaster journey that has included sharing a small family home with seven brothers and sisters, the devastation of his parents’ separation and the reluctant decision to leave his family home in the central region of the country to follow his dream of becoming a footballer.

After joining Rennes as a teenager he was transferred to Marseille in 2009 for £10.4million, switching to Rangers last August for £7m as part of the deal which took Joey Barton in the opposite direction.

Now Mbia faces one of the biggest fights of his footballing life — trying to save QPR from relegation.

Ever since watching his all-time hero, the former Real Madrid and Argentina midfielder Fernando Redondo, for the first time he knew football would be his path — even though he did not always have the means to follow his dream.

‘My earliest football memories are of playing outside my house in my home town of Biamese,’ he says. ‘We came from a simple background. It was very difficult. My father did everything, if we needed something he would try to get it for us.

Up for the challenge: QPR pulled off a shock win against Chelsea in their last league game

‘But at first we could not afford a ball, so my friend and I took some paper, scrunched it up into a ball and just started kicking it around outside, I must have been about four years old at the time.

‘When did I get my first ball? Well, I have to confess, I stole it. It wasn’t mine. Someone kicked it towards me so I just grabbed it and ran.

‘My mother never wanted me to play football, she wanted me to concentrate on my studies. But I pleaded with her to buy me my first pair of boots. I remember when she came home from work one day with the boots and I was so happy. I gave her so many kisses.’

However, that loving relationship with his mother has not always been so apparent.

Something to smile about: Adel Taarabt and Mbia after QPR's first win of the season against Fulham in December

‘My mother and father had a problem, so my mother left,’ remembers Mbia. ‘I didn’t see her for 10 years. It was very difficult.

‘When my mum was there, my life was more simple. She spoke to me, gave me a bit of money.

‘Did I miss her when she left? No — I was angry. I was angry because she didn’t call. She never told us where she lived.

‘I wasn’t alone, my brothers had the same sentiment because she left us with no news about her.

‘My father had another woman — she was OK — but she was not my mum.

Psychologically it was difficult for me not to see my mother.

Relegation roar: Mbia is determined to keep QPR in the Premier League

‘But when I signed for Rennes when I was 17, she saw me on TV and we reconnected.

‘I forgive and forget — that’s life. I think those bad times have helped my character in football. I’m happy now.’

In the latest instalment of the battle for Barclays Premier League survival, Rangers face Redknapp’s former team Tottenham at Loftus Road this lunchtime.

Mbia might be happy now but he’ll be even happier if he can still call himself a Premier League footballer in May.

VIDEOStephane Mbia talks to Sportsmail at QPR's training ground  Mail

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