London: Harry Redknapp believes Queens Park Rangers’ shock 1-0 win at Chelsea could be the turning point in his side’s season.
Redknapp, who also revealed he missed out on the chance to sign Liverpool’s Joe Cole, saw his side defy the odds to produce one of the most unexpected results of the season thanks to Shaun Wright-Phillips’s goal on Wednesday.
The win was only their second league victory of the season and moved Rangers level on points with second-bottom Reading, five points adrift of safety.
But the manager believes the impact of the result will be hugely significant in the context of the relegation battle and strengthen his chances of bringing in new recruits in the January transfer window.
“I had a good meeting with (the players) after the Liverpool game (QPR lost 3-0) and I think I convinced them I thought we could stay up,” he said.
“You probably thought I was mad, but I didn’t go home thinking we are doomed. I thought we could turn it around if we can get this lot working and get someone in the window. And tonight (Wednesday) has proved that.
“Most important, we worked hard. We grafted and if we do that until the end of the season, we will win some games. The other teams down there will be thinking: ‘That’s not very good.’ I’ve been there.
“That will send shocks through everybody and we’ve got to make the most of that tonight.”
Redknapp had attempted to sign Cole but missed out when the player opted to join his former club West Ham United instead.
“I lost a player today who I tried to sign and who would have been my first signing,” said Redknapp.
“He probably looked and thought: ‘Harry, I love you, but I don’t think you are going to stay up.’ And he’s gone to the Hammers.
“I was going to take Joe. I thought he would have been good for me but it’s not easy when you are down there.
“I understand why — he’s a West Ham lad and they love him. I signed him there when he was 11, so he’s going back home and I wish him all the luck in the world.”
Chelsea’s interim manager, Rafael Benitez, blamed his side’s defeat on fatigue and admitted they cannot afford further slips if they are to close the 14-point gap on leaders Manchester United.
Benitez admitted striker Fernando Torres is one of the players who needs a rest and says he hopes to have completed the signing of Newcastle United forward Demba Ba before the FA Cup tie at Southampton on Saturday.
The manager made changes to his line-up and said: “We can’t carry on with the same players. We were playing the bottom of the league at home and you have to trust your players.
“The main thing is we were a bit tired and couldn’t produce the pass, the intensity and the movement.
“We have to have everything almost perfect now. When you lose a game it is more difficult, but I can’t be thinking about the number of points — only the next game.
“We have the FA Cup now, then we have to think how we can get three points from every game.”
And he added: “Fernando is one of the players (who is tired). You can see two or three, who have been playing too many games in the last month.
“Definitely the club is working on it (signing a new striker). If we can do the business, I hope so (before weekend).”
Benitez revealed goalkeeper Petr Cech will be out for up to three weeks with an adductor problem, but there is still no return date for skipper John Terry, who has a knee injury.