London – Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp tore into his players after a team studded with internationals was beaten 4-2 by third-division Milton Keynes Dons in the FA Cup fourth round.
The home defeat against League One MK Dons brought further misery to a club whose Premier League status is already in serious jeopardy with the side five points from safety at the foot of the English top flight.
With half an eye on the visit of champions Manchester City in the league on Tuesday, Redknapp made nine changes to his starting XI, but his side were left reeling by a team ranked 31 places below them.
Despite altering his team so radically, Redknapp felt the quality in the side meant there was no room for excuses.
“If you look at the team today, what is it? An England goalkeeper (Rob Green), a right-back from Man United (Fabio), a left-back in Armand Traore,” Redknapp said.
“You've got Anton Ferdinand and Tal Ben Haim, then Esteban Granero from Real Madrid. You've got Ale Faurlin, Park Ji-sung from Man United, Jamie Mackie, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell.
“Surely they are entitled to beat a team from two divisions down? It tells me, like I've said all along, that I need to improve the squad.
“That is why I have gone all over Europe these last three weeks trying to improve the squad because we are short.
“We are bottom of the league because that is where we are. We have picked up in the last 10 games or so, picking up 11 points, and we're getting blood out of a stone at the moment.
“I know we need to improve and that is what we will continue to try and do this week, but it is not easy.”
QPR have signed Israeli centre-back Ben Haim and French striker Loic Remy in the January transfer window to date and Redknapp's reaction to Saturday's defeat suggested more new arrivals could be on the cards.
“I gave them a chance today (Saturday) because they knock on my door and say they should be playing and other people tell me they are all good players,” he said.
“Well, they got their chance today and they blew it. It answers questions Ä not for me, because I already knew the answer, but for other people. Today they saw the answers.”
A fourth-minute own goal by Traore put MK Dons ahead and the underdogs ran away with the game through further goals from Ryan Lowe, Ryan Harley and Darren Potter before Bothroyd and Fabio belatedly replied for QPR.
“We felt we could come here and get a result,” said MK Dons manager Karl Robinson. “I understand the gulf in teams and I respect that as well.
“QPR is a wonderful football club with one of the best English managers in a long, long time, so you always know the difficulties that is going to possess.
“It is nice to make it through. The players were fantastic and I thought they deserved the result.
“It was difficult for us in the first half. We had to sit off them and they have some top, top players.
“I thought the way they responded to going in front at a Premier League ground was great. They played with no fear.
“Getting into the fourth round was a little bit of history for us and now the fifth round makes it a little more special.”
MK Dons will learn the identity of their fifth-round opponents in Sunday's draw. – Sapa-AFP