Harry Redknapp watches QPR lose as Man United return to Premier League summit
Last Updated: 24/11/12 7:15pm
Harry Redknapp was given an indication of the problems he will need to fix at Queens Park Rangers after he watched his new club surrender the lead to lose 3-1 at Manchester United.
After Mark Hughes was sacked on Friday following a winless Premier League campaign, Redknapp has been confirmed as the successor and the former Tottenham Hotspur boss was watching in the stands at Old Trafford on Saturday.
He will take over on Sunday at the start of a two-and-a-half-year contract and will immediately work on defending after seeing Jamie Mackie's opener cancelled out in an eight-minute spell by Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, with his first goal in more than a year after an almost career-ending health problem, and substitute Javier Hernandez.
Best of the Game
- Man of the match: Wayne Rooney made his presence felt upon his return for United and created two goals through corners
- Moment of the match: Jamie Mackie pounced from three yards in the 52nd minute to give QPR the lead
- Save of the match: Julio Cesar produced a fine stop from Rooney with a close-range shot in the 34th minute
- Talking point: The inspired introduction by Sir Alex Ferguson of Anderson and Javier Hernandez in the second half changed the game
- Goal of the match: Darren Fletcher scored his first in more than a year after a career-threatening illness
Stand-in QPR coach Mark Bowen had made five changes to the QPR side who lost to Southampton in Hughes' final game in charge and it did make a difference but another defeat leaves them still adrift at the bottom of the table while United returned to top spot.
Following a slow opening quarter-of-an-hour, the first incident of the game arrived in the form of a United penalty appeal, which was waved away by referee Lee Probert despite Paul Scholes going down under a challenge from the recalled Shaun Derry.
QPR were sitting deep in order to frustrate their hosts, who kicked-off in the knowledge they had not lost to their visitors in 13 previous meetings, and the changes Bowen had made appeared to result in a more committed team performance.
United were getting a little irritated but, after the half-hour, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney, who was back from tonsillitis, forced Julio Cesar in to two saves in the space of 60 seconds with efforts from inside the 18-yard area.
That seemed to bring QPR to life and the visitors had the ball in the back of the net in the 37th minute when Mackie headed Djibril Cisse's cross only to be denied by a correct offside flag.
Before half-time, Clint Hill and Ashley Young were involved in an angry exchange of words as the QPR man thought the United winger, who was accused last season of diving to get Derry sent off at Old Trafford, reacted theatrically to a challenge in the penalty area.
And seven minutes after the break, United found themselves behind as Kieron Dyer skipped past Robin van Persie inside the penalty area before his low cross was palmed back in to the danger area by Anders Lindegaard to give Mackie a poacher's finish.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who on Friday was honoured with the unveiling of a statue outside Old Trafford, responded with a double change, sending on Hernandez and Anderson in place of Young and Scholes, who had earlier collected his fifth booking of the season which will result in a suspension.
The changes added impetus to United and they equalised in the 64th minute when Evans was in the right place to score his third goal of the season in all competitions after QPR had failed to clear a Rooney corner.
Four minutes later, as if Redknapp did not need any more evidence of QPR's deficiencies at set-pieces, United took the lead when another Rooney corner gave Fletcher the chance to head his first club goal since 22nd November 2011 in a special moment for a player who had previously feared his career was over due to a chronic bowel problem.
United made sure of the victory in the 72nd minute when Hernandez latched on to fellow substitute Anderson's pass to break in to the penalty area and finish the ball past Cesar for his eighth goal in eight games in all competitions.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Queens Park Rangers|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||3|
|68.8||1st Half Poss.||31.2|
|56.7||2nd Half Poss.||43.3|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Ham United||23||36|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||23||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||23||19|