Harry Redknapp encouraged by QPR performance
Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp believes his side can turn their season around after his first game in charge ended in a goalless draw at Sunderland.
Rangers remain rooted to the bottom of the table despite claiming a first point in five games but Redknapp was buoyed by Tuesday's committed display.
"We need to play as a team and be a team," said the 65-year-old.
"If we can put them [the players] together and get them to work together, we have got a chance."
Redknapp was appointed as Rangers new boss - succeeding the sacked Mark Hughes - last Saturday, with his first act being to watch them throw away a 1-0 second-half lead to lose 3-1 at Manchester United.
Sunderland v QPR facts
- QPR are the ninth team in top-flight history to not win any of the first 14 games of the season and the first since Swindon in 1993-94.
- Rangers have ended a run of 23 away league games without a clean sheet.
- Sunderland have won only two of their last 21 Premier League games.
That result left them with just four points from 13 matches and eight points from safety - a gap that remains despite the point they earned at the Stadium of Light.
However, Redknapp praised his side for their performance, saying: "We worked hard and we deserved a point. We defended well, denied them chances and had good opportunities ourselves.
"We looked at the stats before this game and I think we've been outworked by just about every team we've played and you can't win if that is the case. But everyone worked hard tonight. That is encouraging for the future."
Redknapp was particularly enthused by his midfield which combined the strength and work-rate of Stephane Mbia and Samba Diakite with the ball-playing skills of Esteban Granero.
"The midfield looked strong and has bags of ability," he said. "They're big strong athletes. It is a nice blend and a midfield you wouldn't like to play against."
Redknapp says his job is now to instil the side with confidence and is drawing from previous experience as manager of Portsmouth (when he took over in December 2005 and helped them survive relegation).
"It is all about confidence. That is key," added Redknapp. "It is not good knocking anyone as your confidence is low when you're bottom of the league.
"We have to give the supporters something to get behind. This reminds me of my time at Portsmouth with the passionate supporters in a small stadium. We have to make home form count and the fans are important in that.
"But I'll go home pleased tonight. There is a good spirit in the dressing room. The players are disappointed not to win but it is about slowly building something."
One negative for QPR was the loss of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who was substituted at half-time with a groin injury and replaced by Robert Green.
Redknapp confirmed that Cesar will undergo a scan to discover the extent of his injury.
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill was downbeat after the game.
"I was hoping we might win the game," admitted O'Neill, whose side remain two points above the relegation zone with 13 points from as many games. "I knew QPR would be buoyed by Harry Redknapp's appointment but I thought we could create enough to win.
"There were chances at both ends but it was a frustrating evening. We got a point on the board but we're disappointed we couldn't make three. It was tough going."