Former QPR manager Neil Warnock has recalled Adel Taarabt’s arrival at the club ahead of the promotion-winning 2010/11 season.
Taarabt, now aged 32 and playing for Benfica, joined QPR permanently ahead of the 2010/11 season.
The Moroccan had spent the previous two seasons on loan with the R’s but signed permanently from Tottenham Hotspur in 2010, when Harry Redknapp was in charge of Spurs.
After announcing his retirmenet from management last week, Warnock appeared on talkSPORT this morning, and he recalled Taarabt’s arrival in 2010, saying:
“Harry [Redknapp] said, you’ll never do anything with him… I’ll never forget the first day in training – it was a red hot day and Adel was playing in black gloves. And I’m asking him, this coach, ‘Who’s that?’ ‘Who’s that?’
“We got to Adel and he [the coach] said, ‘You don’t want to know him, gaffer… He’ll get you the sack, him. He’s [already] got two managers the sack’.
“I went up to him and said, ‘Here, Adel, everybody’s telling me that you’ll get me the sack’. He said, ‘No, no, no, no’.
“You know on Saturday, I said, ‘I’m going to play you against West Brom. And if you’re poor on Saturday, I’m going to play you the next game, Adel. And if you’re poor the next game, I’m going to play you the next game. Do you understand?’
“He couldn’t quite understand it, I said, ‘You’re going to win me things, son. I’m going to love having you’.
“That was the only time I’ve ever thought about a player with that ability, because he was a luxury, he got it off the back-four and he nutmegged somebody and he scored.
“I banned the defence, straight away, from giving him the ball in our half. Banned them all. I told him [Taarabt], ‘If you come over the half-way line into our half’, I would sub him.
“One of the best years of my life, that promotion. One of the hardest, but fabulous to get the best out of players, and they were average players who loved it.”
That season, Warnock would guide QPR to the Championship title. It was the second of his three career promotions from the Championship having achieved the same feat with Sheffield United prior to his time at QPR, and later with Cardiff City.
And Taarabt was the star of the show that season, scoring 19 goals in his 44 Championship outings for QPR and winning the Football League Player of the Year award, whilst also being named in the Championship’s PFA Team of the Year for 2011.