• Premier League

Redknapp chose QPR over Ukraine

ESPN staff
March 29, 2013
Harry Redknapp still believes QPR can escape relegation from the Premier League © Getty Images

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has admitted to reneging on a deal with the Ukraine national team to coach the Premier League relegation battlers.

Ukraine play in the same World Cup qualifying group as England and would have offered Redknapp the unique opportunity of squaring off against the nation of his birth.

But the lure of the daily involvement of coaching a Premier League team was too great, forcing the 66-year-old to turn his back on the done deal.

"It would have been interesting," Redknapp said. "I was going to go. It was 100%. We had agreed the deal and then this came along and I had a decision to make.

"It was a hard decision. Financially it was fantastic, better than anything I could have got in England.

"It didn't mean living in the Ukraine. But when's the next game, September? What do you do between now and then?

"Coming into work every morning is what keeps me going, being on the training ground with the players. Going to Fulham on Monday, to Manchester United, to Anfield, it is part of your life.

"That was the difference. I knew this was a tough job here but I thought the Premier League is home, it is what I am used to."

Ukraine have a fight on their hands if they are to reach Brazil 2014, sitting in fourth position in the group, six points behind leaders Montenegro and four points off the play-off spot which is currently occupied by England.

And despite believing the Ukrainians will put up a fight in the race for a spot in Brazil, Redknapp is confident England will prove too strong for its opponents and will book its place in next year's showpiece event by winning the group.

"(Ukraine) are bang back in the picture again, going to Poland and winning was a fantastic result, " he said. " (But) I have still got faith we will win the group."

However, the former Tottenham manager is even more confident QPR will resist the relegation slide this season, despite the club seven points from safety with only eight games remaining.

And Redknapp said hard work would be the key to ensuring Premier League survival.

"We can get out of it. We're playing well. If we were in bad form I'd be more worried," he said.

"That gives us a chance. With eight games to go, that's positive for us. There are four or five wins for us in the games left.

"The best teams work the hardest. We've got to work hard too. It's not a case of picking scrappers. Whoever I pick, whether they think they're skilful players or not, they've all got to work.

"We've got to go to Fulham and win the game. It's a local derby, we'll take a huge following with us. We want a positive result. "

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