I gave up hope of QPR scoring, admits Harry Redknapp
For much of the season, Redknapp’s men looked capable of challenging for an automatic return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, but a form dip meant the London club had to settle for fourth and a play-off battle.
Many had Derby as favourites going into Saturday’s Wembley showpiece and Steve McClaren’s side undoubtedly had the better of the match.
However, Derby were made to pay for a failure to capitalise on Gary O’Neil’s red card as Bobby Zamora netted the winner two minutes from the end.
Redknapp, though, conceded that Zamora’s last-gasp strike came against the run of play.
He told Sky Sports : “No, I would be a lying if I said I could see us scoring. They had 11 men, were probing and Rob Green was making saves. We were hanging on.
“We were hanging on with 10 men. It took a fantastic finish (to win it). We were looking to hang on and maybe get penalties.
“They’re a good side, they were getting in gaps. We were hanging on for our lives. Everyone worked hard and we got a fantastic goal to win the game. I couldn’t be more pleased.
“That was a one-off. Where do you stand on a touchline, watching a game and hanging in there for a grim death and you go and nick a goal like that.
“That’s all I wanted. For these people (the fans) and the owners, who are fantastic people.”
Redknapp went on to question whether O’Neil really was the last man when fouling Johnny Russell to earn a straight red card, but he refused to criticise referee Lee Mason.
He added: “I don’t think it was the last man. I thought there was a defender behind, but it was a bad challenge, he was going in on goal.
“I wouldn’t argue with it, but I thought he’d get a yellow. Then I thought we were bang in trouble, but they (QPR) showed great character and it was amazing.”
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